In recognition of Workers Memorial Day, Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis recently called on the nation to honor those who have been fatally injured on the job. She pointed to the recent explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia, which took the lives of 29 miners, as well as fires and explosions in Louisiana and Washington.
Thousands of American workers are killed every year while on the job.
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting had the highest fatality rates in 2008, while the construction industry experienced the most deaths, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“No one – regardless of his or her occupation – should have to be injured or killed to earn a paycheck,” Solis says. “No worker’s loved ones should have to wake up to news of trench cave-ins, scaffold collapses, amputations or electrocutions. We don’t need more refinery fires or mine explosions.”
In honor of the widows of those killed in the West Virginia mine explosion will receive life insurance equal to five times their husbands’ annual salary, according to a report by USA Today. Massey Energy has also offered health insurance, childcare and higher education relief.