April 28 serves as a remembrance for workers who have lost their lives or been injured on the job. As we remember those who have died in workplace catastrophes, suffered diseases due to exposure to toxic substances, or been injured because of dangerous conditions, it is also an opportunity to reflect on the need to renew our commitment to improving health and safety in the workplace.
Since the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Act over 40 years ago, the number of worker deaths per year has been reduced from approximately 14,000 in 1970, to 4,547 in 2010. This is a significant achievement given the fact that over the same period of time the workforce has doubled in size. Unfortunately, too many workers remain at risk.
Every day in our country, 12 workers are killed on the job. Despite the difficulties and challenges we face in achieving the goal of reducing and eliminating workplace hazards, we must remain vigilant.
We invite the Fort Detrick community to join us in commemorating this day. There are three specific things the community can do to commemorate the day and eliminate workplace injuries.
First, as individuals we can elect to work safely. This means following the safety rules, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and reporting unsafe conditions.
The second action everyone can begin April 28 is, STOP a co-worker if you see them working in an unsafe manner. For one day don't worry about if you will anger them or be seen as interfering, instead dedicate this day to "Actively Caring" about everyone's safety.
The third and most important action is to acknowledge personnel when you see them performing their job safely. Remember that what gets recognized is what gets done.
Working together we can ensure Fort Detrick is a safe and healthy workplace.