Eleven workers who died on the job in 2013 and 2014 were honored in a ceremony in Pittsburgh’s Market Square Monday.
The annual Workers Memorial Day commemoration aims to highlight something that still happens, even though worker safety laws have improved over the years.
“We need to make sure that people feel safe everyday on the worksite, and whether it’s losing their life or just not coming home in the same physical condition, that’s just not acceptable,” said Jason Fincke, with the Builder’s Guild of Western Pennsylvania.
According to the AFL-CIO, on an average day more than 10,000 workers are injured or are sickened because of workplace hazards and about 150 workers lose their lives as a result of workplace injuries and illnesses.
“The working conditions out there are not real good,” said Jack Shea, president, Allegheny County Labor Council. “I wish that our folks in Washington, D.C. would pay more attention that than pay attention to trying to cut peoples’ wages and benefits.”
Those honored this year include Tripat Mann, a bridge inspector who died while on the job; Ian McKee, who died in the gas well explosion in Greene County; Rocco, the Pittsburgh K-9 officer who was stabbed while apprehending a suspect; military service members and all those who were injured or made sick at work.
“The workers who died over the past year, and before that, and the workers who will die today and unfortunately probably tomorrow are not statistics,” said Fincke. “They are men and women who left behind families, friends and colleagues, they are men and women who committed themselves to their profession and, to some capacity, to making southwestern Pennsylvania a better place to live and work.”