Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Today is Workers' Memorial Day

Today, April 28, marks Wrokers' Memorial Day. It is a day to remember those who were injured, became ill, or even lost their lives in the course of their work duties. Unfortunately, we all received a tragic reminder of workplace safety risks earlier this month with the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, which killed 29 miners.

Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO President, used the holiday to push for expanding OSHA (Occupational Safety and Helath Act) and other safety regulations. Specifically, he endorsed the Protecting America's Workers Act (HR 2067, S 1580), invoking the holiday's mantra, "Mourn the dead; fight like hell for the living" (attributed to Mother Jones).

The Obama administration has been pushing for ramped up OSHA enforcement from the start. While Lawffice Space is not a policy advocacy blog, the reality for employers is that some combination of new safety regulations and increased enforcement of existing regulations is coming. Regardless of your position, or opposition, we can all take a moment to remember those who lost their lives just doing their jobs and recognize it as a tragedy.

Posted by Philip Miles, an employment lawyer with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania.