CONGRESSWOMAN EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON'S RESOLUTION HONORING WORKERS MEMORIAL DAY PASSES
Washington, DC (Friday, April 30, 2010) – Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed H. Res. 375, a resolution written by Congresswoman Johnson that supported the goals and ideals of Workers' Memorial Day in order to honor and remember the workers who have been killed or injured in the workplace. The resolution, which passed unanimously, revealed that at least 2.3 million people around the globe die each year from work-related causes. In the United States in 2008 there were 5,214 workers killed on the job, 50 thousand died of occupational diseases and 4.6 million were injured at work.
Congresswoman Johnson made the following statement on the House floor:
"On Wednesday of this week, millions of people world-wide recognized Workers Memorial Day. Each year in this country thousands of workers are killed due to workplace related injuries, and tens – of – thousands more die of occupational illnesses. It is staggering to think that approximately 14 workers are killed daily due to injuries on the job. World-wide, more than 2 million workers die of occupational illness and injuries annually. That means more people are killed on the job each year than in wars. The bottom line is that everyone deserves a safe and healthy workplace. Many of us may take this basic right for granted, but for millions of Americans the threat of being permanently disabled or even killed on the job is very real. Workers Memorial Day not only recognizes and honors those who have been killed or injured on the job. It also reminds us of the overwhelming need to improve health and safety standards in our Nation’s workplaces. It has been 40 years since the creation of OSHA, and over this time worker health and safety standards have vastly improved. However, there is still work to be done, as evidence by several recent workplace disasters. The month of April has been particularly devastating for work place deaths in the United States. On April 2nd, seven workers were killed by a devastating fire at the Tesero Refinery in Washington. Just last week, a large explosion and fire on a Deepwater Horizon drilling rig 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, injured 17 workers and 11 workers remain missing. On April 5th, we saw the worst mining disaster in nearly four decades. An explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia left 29 miners dead and many others injured. Additionally, a miner was killed this past week at the Pocahontas Mine in West Virginia. Both of these mines had a pattern of repeat safety violations. They were not dedicated to the safety of their employees. Rather they were dedicated to staying open by doing the bare minimum to meet regulations. Chairman Miller, Congresswoman Woolsey and Congressman Rahall have been diligent in working to bring to light repeat violators, and hold those who continue to operate unsafe mines accountable. I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of those who were killed or injured in these tragic events, as well as, all of those workers who were injured or killed world-wide. These are our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. They left home for work in the morning like we all do, only to never return. We hear again and again that those who died knew the risk of what they were doing. A risk many felt was necessary to provide for their families. Yes, accidents do happen. But often accidents are preventable, and we must do all that we can to prevent injury and death on the job. I would like to thank House Leadership and Chairman Miller for their support in bringing this resolution to the floor today. I would also like to thank Congressman Bruce Braley and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, in their assistance in bringing this resolution forward. I urge my colleagues support in recognizing Workers Memorial Day. “
U.S. Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson is the highest-ranking Texan on the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure and a senior member of the Science Committee. She represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas, which, includes Downtown Dallas, Fair Park, Oak Lawn, Turtle Creek, Old East Dallas, Pleasant Grove, & South Oak Cliff; all of Balch Springs, DeSoto, Hutchins, Lancaster & Wilmer and parts of Cedar Hill, Duncanville, Ferris, Glenn Heights and Ovilla.