News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement on Workers Memorial Day. This date marks the 40th anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the effective date of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

“A few weeks ago I went to the Senate floor to mark the one-year anniversary of the terrible tragedy at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington that claimed the lives of seven workers. These were hardworking men and women who were taken far too young, and who are dearly missed by their families, their friends, and their communities.

“While we have made progress in reducing workplace tragedies, we still have a long way to go. Every worker, in every industry, deserves to be confident that while they are working hard and doing their jobs, their employers are doing everything they can to protect them.

“So on Workers Memorial Day I join with so many others in recommitting to our efforts to make sure that workplaces are safe in every industry across America. Because we owe that to our workers, to their families, and to communities like Anacortes all across the country.”

Preliminary data reveal that 4,340 workers were killed on the job nationwide in 2009—an average of 12 workers a day—and an estimated 50,000 died of occupational diseases. More than 4.1 million work-related injuries and illnesses were reported in workplaces. But this likely understates the problem; reports indicate the true toll of job injuries is two to three time greater, meaning that the actual number of job injuries and illnesses is more likely 8 million to 12 million per year.