Image courtesy of AFL-CIO
Today is Workers’ Memorial Day. A day set aside every year to remember those who have been killed or injured while working, and take a stand for increased safety measures for all workers. More than 2.3M men and women die every year as a result of occupational accidents or illnesses. That’s one worker every 15 seconds, or 6,300 workers per day according to the International Labor Organization. Workplace accidents total 317M per year, accounting for an estimated 4% of GDP lost to poor safety standards.
Worker safety is an absolute value for the Rhumbix team. Many of us have a construction background and understand first-hand the importance of safety on the jobsite. In my 20-year background as a laborer I am lucky to have not been seriously injured, but I’ve experienced a number of close calls. One experience in particular has always stuck with me.
At the time, I was working as a concrete laborer and I was trying to get on an interstate job on 1–5, but they ended up hiring another guy. I was bummed. I needed the money and the job included overtime hours. Work crews usually leave two guys at the job site to make sure no cars knock down the cones or damage the concrete while it’s setting, and if you’re one of those guys you end up clocking 16 hours.
The guy who got the job instead of me ended up getting seriously injured, and later died. He was one who stayed behind to watch the concrete set: The job I wanted. He was hit by a car that went through the cones and was airlifted to a local hospital. He was only 19 years-old. I think about him a lot. In construction, we call our fellow workers our brothers and sisters. My brother lost his life on the job that was supposed to be mine.
Here at Rhumbix, we will be having a moment of silence to remember the many workers — like my brother — who have been injured or lost their lives while at work. We will also be tuning into the national event hosted by The Department of Labor via their live stream broadcast from the Workers’ Memorial in Washington, D.C.
On behalf of all our brothers and sisters, we remember you today and recommit ourselves to “remember the dead, and fight for the living.”