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State to honor fallen workers during April 28 ceremony at L&I

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April 25, 2016 #16-018

Tumwater – Six firefighters, five loggers and nine construction workers are among those who died from work-related causes who will be remembered at this year's Worker Memorial Day ceremony in Tumwater. The men and women range in age from 20 to 92 and did all types of work, including retail clerk, business owner, police officer, pilot, ranch hand and taxi driver.

They'll be honored at Washington's official Worker Memorial Day ceremony on April 28 at the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) building. It's one of many ceremonies held in communities across the nation this month to remember those who died from work-related causes.

Recent data shows construction, agriculture, logging and jobs that require driving are among the most hazardous jobs for Washington workers. Still, workplace injuries and deaths happen across the spectrum of jobs, including painters, landscapers and mechanics. Falls remain a leading cause of worker deaths. Six work-related deaths were homicides.

"Worker Memorial Day is a somber reminder that there's still much more to do to make sure every worker in Washington returns home safely at the end of the day," said L&I Director Joel Sacks. "We honor those who died by pledging to do everything in our power to prevent these tragedies from being repeated."

The number of workplace deaths in Washington has been declining since the early 2000s, when job-related deaths often numbered more than 100 annually. The 84 workers who will be remembered during the ceremony include the more than 50 who died of traumatic work-related incidents in 2015, others who died from long-term lung and respiratory disease, and 14 who died before 2015 but whose deaths were not included in previous ceremonies.

Parents, spouses, children and other relatives of people who died from a work-related illness or injury are expected to attend. Governor Jay Inslee is scheduled to take part, along with representatives of the Association of Washington Business, the Washington State Labor Council and the Washington Self-Insurers Association. The observance is also open to the general public.

The Worker Memorial Day ceremony begins at 2 p.m. at L&I's main building in Tumwater, 7273 Linderson Way S.W.

The names of the workers who died will be read, accompanied by bell ringers from the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters. After the ceremony, the families are invited to ring the brass bell in the Worker Memorial garden on the grounds of the L&I building.

For a complete list of those being honored, visit Lni.wa.gov/WorkerMemorialDay.

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For media information: Elaine Fischer, L&I, 360-902-5413.

Connect with L&I: Facebook (facebook.com/laborandindustries) and Twitter (twitter.com/lniwa)

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