The 48 Iowans who died while on the job last year were honored today during a midday memorial service held on the state capitol grounds.
Reverend Jean McCarthy of Des Moines began the 20th annual Workers’ Memorial Day observance with prayer.
“We gather today from many faith traditions and we join together in concern for each other, to consolidate our hopes and prayers for the health and safety for those who follow us in the future, but mostly we come together today to remember, to mourn, to comfort, to share hope and love and to honor the lives and memories of those who have died this past year in the workplace,” McCarthy said.
Of the 48 Iowans who died on the job in 2007, 13 died while on active military duty. Governor Culver gave each mourning family an iron cross made by members of the Iron Workers Union. “On behalf of the State of Iowa, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathies to the families and friends of those workers who lost their lives over the past year,” Culver said.
Iowa Federation of Labor president Ken Sager says this is the 38th anniversary of the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “We’ve cut the fatality rates in the country by 78 percent,” Sager says. “Regrettably, too many workers are still dying on the job.” He says the best way to “memorialize” the workers who’ve died on the job in Iowa is to commit to providing the money that’s necessary to enforce OSHA regulations in the workplace.