Workers’ Memorial Day was this past Sunday, April 28th. What is Workers’ Memorial Day?
Every year, about 4,500 people are killed at work and 50,000 workers die from occupational diseases while millions more are injured. Decades of struggle by workers and their unions have resulted in significant improvements in working conditions. But the toll of workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths remains enormous.
Since 1989, the US labor movement has observed Workers’ Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job. April 28 was chosen because it is the anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Workers’ Memorial Day has been officially endorsed by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the International Labor Organization (ILO), and is now observed in nearly 100 countries.
Now read this amazing and horrible HISTORICAL clip about something that occurred in 1947—-the explosion of a ship carrying ammonium nitrate:
“The Texas City Disaster is generally considered the worst industrial accident in American history. Witnesses compared the scene to the fairly recent images of the 1943 Air Raid on Bari and the much larger devastation at Nagasaki. Of the dead, 405 were identified and 63 have never been identified. These were placed in a memorial cemetery in the north part of Texas City near Moses Lake. A remaining 113 people were classified as missing, for no identifiable parts were ever found. This figure includes firefighters who were aboard Grandcamp when it exploded.
More than 5,000 people were injured, with 1,784 admitted to twenty-one area hospitals. More than 500 homes were destroyed and hundreds damaged, leaving 2,000 homeless. The seaport was destroyed and many businesses were flattened or burned. Over 1,100 vehicles were damaged and 362 freight cars were obliterated-the property damage was estimated at $100 million ($1.03 billion in today’s terms).“
Remind you of something? Not surprisingly, history unfortunately has repeated itself recently in West, Texas with the loss of much life due to that terrible factory explosion—-involving that very same chemical!!!!. I never understand why these things happen again and again. Let’s all work together to ensure that MORE REGULATION is imposed upon businesses that deal with dangerous substances and chemicals, and that such regulations are ENFORCED PROPERLY so as to protect the working people and all people of this great country from harm!
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