Today, I received the following thoughts from Paul Petrie:
Today is a day to remember workers who have tragically died, have been injured or become ill from their work. We often cite the grim statistics from workers compensation boards to show the unacceptable magnitude of this toll of death and disablement.
What these statistics don’t show are the deaths from prolonged and undocumented exposure to toxic chemicals at work and disabling work injuries that are not reported to compensation boards, in many cases due to claim suppression activities by some employers.
In addition to remembering workers who have died or who have been disabled from their work, we must also recommit our efforts to protect all workers from workplace hazards and promote safer and healthier workplaces to prevent this unacceptable toll of workplace death and disablement. Identifying the causes of workplace injuries and diseases inform effective prevention activities to reduce risk and prevent recurrences. Unrecognized deaths from toxic workplace exposures and unreported workplace injuries inhibit effective prevention efforts by not documenting the causes of these diseases and injuries.
If we are genuinely committed to reducing the unacceptable toll of death and disablement in the workplace, we must redouble our efforts to recognize those illnesses and disabling injuries that are now unreported. We must remove the barriers that block due compensation and rehabilitation support for those workers. We must document the risks that caused those injuries and illnesses to more fully inform our prevention efforts.
Let us remember. And act.