The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) marked Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28th by unveiling plans for a new, permanent memorial that will pay tribute to the State employees who passed away, including line of duty deaths, while serving New York State. The memorial site, which will feature a plaque, will be located near the reflecting pool in front of the Department’s office on the Harriman State Office Campus in Albany.
The names of the victims can be viewed on this online memorial webpage.
The AFL-CIO first declared April 28 “Workers’ Memorial Day” in 1989 in remembrance of the hundreds of thousands of working people killed and injured on the job every year. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), went into effect on April 28, 1971.
“The Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the New York State Public Employee Safety and Health Act [PESH], which promise workers the fundamental right to safe working conditions, became law because of the tireless efforts of the union movement and our allies who fight on behalf of working people,” said Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO.
“On Workers’ Memorial Day, we reflect on the sacrifices made by all workers, including public employees, who lost their lives on the job. And we renew our promise to do everything we can to ensure that no worker suffers that same fate in the future. This means advocating for stronger workplace safety laws and regulations, ensuring robust enforcement, and providing workers with the training and equipment necessary to stay safe on the job.”
PESH enforces safety and health standards to protect public sector employers, which includes state, county, and local governments. It also covers public authorities, school districts, and paid and volunteer fire departments.
Additionally, PESH responds to deaths related to occupational safety and health, accidents that send two or more public employees to the hospital, and investigates complaints from public employees or their representatives. The bureau also inspects public employer work sites and provides technical assistance during statewide emergencies.
For more information about services, including its free consultation surveys, visit the PESH webpage. If a public worker or their representatives feel a safety of health violation is present at their workplace, they are encouraged to file a complaint to submit to the nearest PESH District Office.
Read more about labor history in New York State here.
Photo: The W. Averell Harriman State Office Building Campus in Albany (courtesy the NYS Office of General Services).