NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WZMQ) – April 28th marks “Workers Memorial Day”, a day to remember workers that have been killed or injured on the job and to renew the fight for strong safety and health protections. When there is a death on the job site, it can shift not only the entire project’s timeline and worker mentality but also can change the way workers view the day-to-day job.
Friday’s service at St. Johns in Negaunee was about taking a step back and sharing more with the community about the effects that working in these services can have on a person. When there’s a death on the worksite, Saari commented that it’s difficult to pause and react when there’s always a job to finish.
Adam Saari, a business representative for Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers in the UP, knows Workers Memorial Day is about more than just remembering those who died, but promoting and inspiring positive change in the workplace. “I’ve been on job sites to where even I’ve seen people pass away on a job site and it’s difficult to process those emotions that come through so this is a very important day to me,” said Saari.
“Sometimes it’s like go home but sometimes you just sit there and people just keep working,” continued Saari.
Workplace fatalities or accidents might not be reported or could take years to show signs of illness. “The hardest part about occupational illness is it may not show up for many years after exposure or decades so it’s very hard to link to the source,” said VP of United Steelworkers Local 4950 Michael Grondz.
Respiratory illness, cancer, and even silicosis are a risk even in today’s workplace environment.