L&I News: 2010 Worker Memorial Day

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April 19, 2010

Worker Memorial Day ceremony set for April 28 at L&I headquarters

This brass bell is the centerpiece of the Worker Memorial Garden outside the L&I building in Tumwater. It is dedicated to all Washington residents who die from a workplace injury or illness.

TUMWATER – A Worker Memorial Day ceremony April 28 will honor the memories of 73 people who died in 2009 from job-related injuries or illnesses. The ceremony will be at the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) central office in Tumwater.

The deaths occurred at worksites across Washington state and included occupations as varied as police officers and firefighters, cab drivers, construction workers, loggers and sales clerks. Most of those killed were men, but five women also died on the job.

“The events of the past few weeks, with six refinery workers killed in Anacortes and 29 miners killed in West Virginia, are sad reminders that lives continue to be lost to workplace hazards,” said L&I Director Judy Schurke. “This ceremony is our opportunity to honor those who have died on the job, and it should serve as a reminder that more needs to be done to improve workplace safety for everyone.”

The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. at L&I headquarters in Tumwater, 7273 Linderson Way S.W. It is Washington’s official Worker Memorial Day commemoration and is one of many held in communities across the nation. The agency has hosted a ceremony for 17 years recognizing fallen workers.

Gov. Chris Gregoire is scheduled to attend, as well as representatives from the Association of Washington Business, the Washington State Labor Council, and the Washington Self-Insurers Association.

Relatives of all the workers who died in 2009 have been invited and several have indicated they plan to attend. The observance is open to the public. Centerpiece of the ceremony is a reading of the names of the fallen workers, accompanied by bell ringers from the Tumwater Fire Department.

Following the ceremony, the families will be invited to participate in ringing the bronze bell that makes up the Worker Memorial sculpture on the grounds of the L&I building.

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For media information: Hector Castro, L&I, 360-902-6043.

Broadcast version: The Department of Labor and Industries will host its annual Worker Memorial Day ceremony on Wednesday, April 28, at the agency’s building in Tumwater, south of Olympia. The service will honor the 73 Washington State residents who died in 2009 due to work-related accidents or illnesses. The service begins at 2 p.m. and includes a formal reading of the names of the fallen workers. Several families of the deceased are expected to attend.

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