Honoring Those We’ve Lost, Committing to Safer Workplaces

On Workers Memorial Day, I think about many people that I’ve known who got hurt, sick, or lost their lives on the job. I think of John Hegarty, a pile driver and dear friend of mine who died while working on construction at the Central Artery Tunnel Project in Boston in 1998. He had a wife and three children. It was a terrible loss for his family and the community.  

So, on this day, we remember and honor the working people like John and so many others who lost their lives on the job, and we mourn with those they’ve left behind. We stand with the families, co-workers, and communities who miss them. And we recommit to achieving a future where workplace fatalities are a thing of the past. As we think about Workers Memorial Day, it’s important to remember that we need to do better to make sure all workers go home safe at the end of each shift.   

The fact is that many of these tragic losses are entirely preventable if the right safety standards are in place and followed, and safety and health are made a priority. We’ve made a lot of progress in making workplaces safer over the past year, but there’s still more work to be done.  

At the Department of Labor, we hold a fundamental belief: no worker should risk injury, illness, or their life to put food on the table for their families. That’s why we’re advancing new standards and guidance on everything from COVID-19 to excessive heat. As we continue to move forward, safety and health will remain our priority at the Department to ensure workplaces are safe throughout our country.

Secretary Walsh takes a moment of silence for Workers' Memorial Day at the Department of Labor

Marty Walsh is the U.S. Secretary of Labor. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @SecMartyWalsh.