Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios

Middlesex County Commemorates Workers Memorial Day
Fallen and Injured Workers Recognized; Importance of Safe Workplaces Emphasized

APRIL 26, 2013 – Middlesex County officials and residents met today in Sayreville for a solemn ceremony to recognize those who have been injured or killed on the job and also to focus on the importance and need for better health and safety conditions in the workplace. 

Every year, millions of men and women lose their lives or suffer debilitating illnesses or injuries while at work. To honor these workers, Workers Memorial Day was established nationally in 1989 and commemorated each year on April 28.

As it did last year, Middlesex County held a ceremony to memorialize the friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members lost through work-related incidents.

“We are here to ensure that the 36 New Jersey residents who died while on the job this past year are not forgotten,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios, who spearheaded the County’s commemoration. “We are here to pay our respects to Officer Sean Collier of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police, who was killed in the aftermath of the terrorist bombing of the Boston Marathon, and to the nine emergency services personnel who died responding to the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.”

“Most importantly, we are here to promise to do our level best to ensure safe working conditions for every man and woman no matter what their occupation,” Rios added.

In a letter sent to be read at the event, U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6) wrote: “Today’s service is an important reminder of the risks workers face on a daily basis and the need to continue to improve workers’ health and well-being.  I commend Middlesex County for remembering those individuals who have been injured or who have lost their lives in the workplace.”

“Workers Memorial Day is an occasion for reflection and remembrance of the thousands of workers who needlessly have suffered fatal injuries on the job every year,” said Patricia Jones, director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Avenel, N.J., Office. “We also think of those workers who have been seriously injured or sickened as a result of preventable workplace hazards. No worker should have to sacrifice their life for their livelihood.”

“As a union president, I am resolved to dedicate my efforts to honor these workers and families that we pray for and remember on this Workers Memorial Day,” said Middlesex County AFL-CIO Labor Council President Thomas Tighe.  “We have to be vigilant and keep fighting for the living.”
“All too often, there is a human cost to the work we do,” said State Assemblyman Craig J. Coughlin (19th District).  “This day is important, remembering those men and women who go to work every day as we redouble our efforts to advocate for worker safety, ensuring those same men and women make it home safely each night.”

This day is also a tribute to those who have helped lead the fight to improve conditions and safety practices throughout the nation. Workers Memorial Day is held on the anniversary date of the founding of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1971.