Category Archives: 2024 North America

USA: AFL-CIO President on EPA’s Phasing Out of Deadly Methylene Chloride in Workplaces

April 30, 2024

AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler released the following statement in response to historic EPA action from the Biden–Harris administration to phase out and ban the deadly methylene chloride, an extremely dangerous chemical used in paint stripping, metal cleaning and degreasing, under the Toxic Substances Control Act after Trump-era inaction:

On the heels of Workers Memorial Day, this historic action to phase out and ban this deadly chemical is a critical milestone in our fight to protect working people on the job. The AFL-CIO applauds the rule announced today, which continues the Biden–Harris administration’s and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) deep commitment to the safety and health of all workers.

With the widespread availability of safer alternatives, we know this commonsense change will save lives. Methylene chloride poses a serious risk to workers—we have known for years that, if inhaled, it can cause immediate death. Despite this, the Trump administration and its corporate backers left workers behind when it prohibited consumer usage but refused to require employers to use safer chemicals and methods. With this strong foundation, we will continue to ensure workers are still protected to the fullest during phase-out periods and establish strong standards that protect all workers from chemical exposures we face on the job.

For an overview of the unacceptable levels of all worker deaths and injuries, please see the AFL-CIO’s 2024 Death on the Job report.

This year’s report reveals that in 2022:

  • An estimated 125,000 workers died in the United States, including 5,486 from traumatic injury and approximately 120,000 from occupational diseases. That is 344 workers each day.
  • Occupational diseases caused by chemical exposures are responsible for an estimated 50,000 deaths and 190,000 illnesses each year.
  • The traumatic job fatality rate increased again to 3.7 per 100,000 workers.
  • Workers of color die on the job at a higher rate: Black and Latino worker job fatality rates are disproportionate compared with all other workers and are continuing to increase.
  • Black workers’ job fatality rate was the highest it has been in nearly 15 years—4.2 per 100,000 workers.
  • Latino workers’ job fatality rate increased again to 4.6 per 100,000 workers—meaning they continued to face the greatest risk of dying on the job than all workers, at 24% higher than the national average; the rate marked a 24% increase over the past decade.
  • Employers reported nearly 3.5 million work-related injuries and illnesses, an increase from the previous year.

Contact: Riley Lopez, 202-637-5018

USA: White House proclamation on 28 April

A Proclamation on Workers Memorial Day, 2024

A job is about more than a paycheck — it is about dignity and respect.  Our Nation’s workers built this country, and we need to have their backs.  On the most basic level, that means every worker in this Nation deserves to be safe on the job.  Too many still risk their lives or well-being in unsafe work conditions or dangerous roles.  On Workers Memorial Day, we honor our fallen and injured workers and recommit to making sure every worker has the peace of mind of knowing that they are protected at work and can return home safe to their families every night. read more

USA: CWPR on 28 April


Workers Memorial Day takes place on 28 April. People around the world will honor the thousands killed each year on the job and the millions more who suffer serious occupational injuries and illnesses. The number of workplace fatalities and injuries remains unacceptably high: in construction alone, approximately 1,000 workers die on job sites annually.

Each year, April 28th offers the opportunity for us to remember those who have died and to strengthen our commitment to make sure every worker comes home safely every day. Fulfilling that commitment takes the dedication of people across the industry: owners, contractors, managers, government officials, unions, workers, and many others.

Improving the safety and health of construction workers must take many forms and respond to many hazards. This year we encourage everyone to focus on addressing:

  • Falls. One in three work-related deaths in construction is caused by a fall. The National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction brings together people from across the industry to raise awareness of this hazard and to show how to prevent these incidents. Participate in next week’s National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction as part of making a year-round commitment to eliminating this hazard.
  • Mental Health. Mental health issues — especially opioid dependency and suicide – continue to affect construction workers at much higher rates than the average U.S. worker. CPWR’s resources, which include Hazard Alert Cards, Toolbox Talks, and training programs, all support prevention. Also, watch for the opportunity to sign up to receive a new newsletter highlighting mental health research and effective resources.
  • truck-by Incidents. The just-completed National Stand-Down to Prevent Struck-by Incidents raised awareness of these hazards, the second leading cause of death and the leading cause of nonfatal injuries among construction workers. Listen to the Stand-Down webinar on developing Internal Traffic Control Plans and check out other CPWR materials that address hazards such as dropped objects, heavy equipment, lift zone safety, and work zone safety.


USA: BlueGreen Alliance | New Report Highlights Worker Safety Actions Under Trump, Biden Administrations

Ahead of Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28, the BlueGreen Alliance released a report exploring efforts to protect or undermine worker health and safety under the current Biden administration and previous Trump administration. The report, Then and Now: Worker Safety Under Trump and Biden, considers administrative actions in several areas: capacity at the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); protecting miners from black lung-causing silica dust; regulation of hazardous chemical facilities; worker injury reporting requirements; and COVID-19 response.

“Workers’ Memorial Day honors the workers who didn’t come home at the end of their shift,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Jason Walsh. “It’s also the day we can commit ourselves to a future where every worker is able to say goodbye to their families before their shift with the safe assumption that they will be returning home healthy at the end of the day. We should expect our leaders to prioritize that.”

The new report builds on a September 2020 BlueGreen Alliance report—Misled: The Impact of the Trump Administration’s Agenda on Working Families and the Environment—which provided an analysis of a range of policy actions made by the Trump administration. In the new report the organization revisits those policy actions related to worker health and safety and sets them alongside actions from the Biden administration.

The full report can be found here.

USA: On Workers Memorial Day 2024 injured workers demand justice at CA state building in Oakland

USA: Black Worker Initiative youth summit on Workers’ Memorial Day

On April 28th from noon to 4:30 p.m., Worksafe’s Black Worker Initiative is hosting a Youth Listening Summit at the Greenlining Institute in Downtown Oakland, California, to engage with young people ages 11-20. Youth Facilitators will lead discussions with youth on critical issues they face, from availability and quality of job opportunities and working conditions to environmental justice. Youth will be mentored to craft talking points and present their opinions and recommendations to a panel of ChangeMakers: California Labor Commissioner Lilia Garcia-Brower, Cal/OSHA Acting Chief Debra Lee, Assembly member Mia Bonta, District 2 Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, and District 3 Council Member Carroll Fife. This event is a first for Worksafe, and we are very excited to hear from Bay Area youth! We are taking registration up to the day of the event so feel free to refer youth to the event website.

Canada: National Day of Mourning – April 28, 2024

Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW)

The National Day of Mourning, observed annually in Canada on April 28, pays tribute to those who have lost their lives, been injured, become ill or suffered tragedy at work. It’s a day to remember those who have suffered because of their work. It’s also a day to renew our collective commitment to improving workplace health and safety, and to preventing further injuries, illnesses, and deaths. This year’s theme is “Safe Work Now!”

Today the Day of Mourning is observed in more than 100 countries around the world and is also known as International Workers’ Memorial Day. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) recognize this day as World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

According to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC), there were 993 workplace fatalities in Canada in 2022, including 941 men, 50 women and 2 non-binary people, as well as 33 young workers between the ages of 15 and 24. In addition to these fatalities, 348,747 lost-time injury claims were accepted across the country. This represents an increase of 75,000 cases compared to 2021.

We are well aware that these figures do not reflect reality, since they do not include work-related injuries that employers try to conceal by persuading workers not to report them, offering them instead in-house accommodations without medical advice as a way to recover.

By using this approach, employers neglect declaring these cases as disabling injuries resulting in time lost.

For more information on the various statistics, please consult the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada link below:

To find out about the various activities planned across the country on Sunday, April 28, 2024, I invite you to consult the Canadian Labour Congress website at:

Day of Mourning Ceremonies 2024 | Canadian Labour Congress

We have asked Canada Post to fly the Canadian flag at half-mast and observe a minute of silence at all the facilities that will be in operation that day.

An injury to one is an injury to all.

Related Content

USA: AFL-CIO Releases 2024 Death on the Job report

On 25 April, ahead of  Workers Memorial Day on April 28, the AFL-CIO released their 33rd annual report, Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect. This annual report serves as a national and state-by-state profile of worker safety and health, offering direction to policymakers and regulatory bodies as they strive to address the scourge of working people facing death, injury and illness at work. Among the report’s startling data are the disproportionate rates of Latino and Black workers at risk of dying on the job. Black workers are facing the highest job fatality rates in nearly 15 years and Latino workers continue to face the greatest risk of dying on the job, compared to all other workers.

The report also sheds light on the enormous cost of job injuries and illness on our society—an estimated $174 billion to $348 billion a year—and the flat-funded budget for job safety agencies to fulfill their growing duties, which do not even keep up with inflation. It also outlines key strategies to address this crisis, including a renewed commitment to regulatory oversight agencies, improved data and transparency, stronger deterrents against employer retaliation, and prioritizing standard-setting and enforcement.

“Despite workers’ hard-won safety and health rights, this report shows the fight is far from over,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “Too many workers face retaliation for reporting unsafe working conditions or injuries, while low penalties fail to deter employers from following the law. The alarming disparities in workplace fatalities among workers of color are unacceptable, symptomatic of deeply ingrained racial inequity and the need to pay increased attention to the dangerous industries that treat workers as disposable. As we honor those who have fallen this Workers Memorial Day, we remain committed to holding corporations accountable so that all jobs are safe jobs—where every worker can return home safely at the end of the day.”

“This report exposes an urgent crisis for workers of color and reaffirms what we’ve long known: When we talk about justice for workers, we must prioritize racial equity,” said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond. “The fact that Black and Latino workers continue to die on the job at disproportionate rates demands a reckoning with the failure of employers to protect them. We must honor the lives lost on the job with action, as we recommit ourselves to advancing safety, health and equity for all workers.”

This year’s report reveals that in 2022:

  • 344 workers died each day from hazardous working conditions.
  • 5,486 workers were killed on the job in the United States.
  • An estimated 120,000 workers died from occupational diseases.
  • The job fatality rate increased again to 3.7 per 100,000 workers.
  • Workers of color die on the job at a higher rate: Black and Latino worker job fatality rates are disproportionate compared with all other workers and are continuing to increase.
  • Black workers’ job fatality rate was the highest it has been in nearly 15 years—4.2 per 100,000 workers.
  • Latino workers’ job fatality rate increased again to 4.6 per 100,000 workers—meaning they continued to face the greatest risk of dying on the job than all workers, at 24% higher than the national average; the rate marked a 24% increase over the past decade.
  • Employers reported nearly 3.5 million work-related injuries and illnesses, an increase from the previous year.

These sobering findings stress the urgent need for immediate action to prioritize worker safety and shed light on the escalating challenges facing workplace protections. Progress has been hindered by growing opposition from big corporations to workers’ rights and protections. Extremist politicians have also unnecessarily politicized critical issues such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created more challenges to longstanding problems of heat and infectious disease exposure in the workplace, and the lack of funding has left our agencies scrambling to keep up.

And in this critical election year, the stakes are even higher for those who need safe working conditions. The stark difference between the Biden and Trump administrations’ worker safety and health records underscore this significant moment for workers. While the Biden administration has issued strong standards and enforcement initiatives and has tirelessly worked to rebuild and fortify job and safety agencies after years of neglect and erosion, the prior administration’s actions led to severe understaffing, the repeal of essential worker safety laws, restrictions on public access to vital information and weak enforcement against employers who violate the law.

In light of these report findings and obstacles we continue to face, the AFL-CIO remains committed to prioritizing the prevention of injury, illness and fatalities at work, advocating for strong standards and organizing for safer working conditions while supporting leaders like President Biden who champion workers’ rights to a safe job. While there is still much work ahead, our advocacy for policies that protect workers and hold employers accountable remains steadfast. Collaboration with lawmakers, activists and allies will continue to advance workplace safety initiatives, ensuring that every worker has the opportunity to thrive in a safe and healthy environment.

Read the full report here.

USA: Dollar Store Workers Rising: Health, Safety and Solidarity Panel

Dollar Store Workers Rising: Health, Safety & Solidarity Panel organized by CPD Action

Dollar Store workers are rising up to organize for our right to work in safe and dignified conditions!

Join us for an interactive panel of workers, organizers and experts as we unveil the findings of a brand-new Dollar Store health & safety survey, our list of demands and how you can take action in solidarity with us.

Panel speakers include:

  • Kenya Slaughter, Step Up Louisiana Organizer (Host)
  • McKenzie Midgette and Tony Barton, Dollar Store Workers
  • Karen Escobedo, Center for Popular Democracy
  • Christina LeBlanc, Invest in Louisiana
  • Debbie Berkowitz, Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University

Event co-sponsors: Step Up Louisiana, Center for Popular Democracy, Invest in Louisiana and COSH.

USA: Mourning and Fighting: Workers Memorial Day 2024

On March 26, 2024 we woke to some grim news.  A cargo ship had hit the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, causing the gigantic bridge to collapse in seconds.

We watched video footage of the collapse with shock, awe, and horror.  And then we learned that eight construction workers were on that bridge, filling potholes in the middle of the night. Backbreaking work at any hour.  Upon the collision, they plummeted into the Petapsco River below. Two were rescued; six died.  To date, 4 bodies have been recovered. Read more at Confined Space