Workers Memorial Day is held annually on April 28, and it consists of dozens of local events held all over the United States. More details about this event can be found in this this post. This year, the Meso Foundation will participate in the Workers Memorial Day Ceremony that will be held tomorrow in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Diane Blackburn-Zambetti, Director of Policy and Prevention Education at the Meso Foundation, will be speaking at the ceremony in memory of her father, Dale Blackburn, a UA Pipefitter and pleural mesothelioma victim.
Diane will focus her presentation on workplace asbestos exposure and the subsequent risk of developing mesothelioma. This type of occupational exposure can, and does, cause workplace fatalities for many years after the initial exposure. The latency period between exposure and mesothelioma diagnosis can range from 20-50 years. Because of this, workers who were exposed decades ago are now developing this cancer.
Workers Memorial Day is a time to honor those who have lost their lives on the job. According to AFL-CIO, 4,628 individuals were killed on the job and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases in 2012 alone. In the same year, nearly 3.8 million work-related injuries and illnesses were reported, and research suggests these numbers may actually be two or three times higher.
Held on April 28, Workers Memorial Day is the anniversary of the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1970. Additionally, Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act in December of 1970. This act holds employers responsible for providing employees with a safe and healthy work environment.