April 28 is Workers' Memorial Day

More than 200 New Yorkers Died in Workplace Accidents in 2007

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 27, 2009) -- New York State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., urged greater awareness of workplace safety as the nation observes Workers' Memorial Day on Tuesday, April 28.

"Everyone has a part to play, both employers and workers, in promoting a safe and productive workplace," said Commissioner Daines. "The employers of New York can honor their workers by committing to providing this safe and healthy work environment every day."

Workers Memorial Day serves as a nationwide day of remembrance to recognize the thousands of U.S. workers who die each year on the job. The observance is held on April 28 in recognition of the day the U.S. Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970.

New York State had 219 job-related fatalities in 2007, the most recent data available. Nationwide there were 5,488 worker deaths. New York ranked fifth highest among states in total number of deaths, but due to its large workforce New York's fatality rate of 2.6 deaths per 100,000 workers is among the nation's lowest.

"Even one worker killed on the job is too many," said Dr. Daines. "We must continue efforts to identify safety and health hazards, develop effective injury prevention strategies, and implement these strategies for high-risk populations. We owe it to the men and women who have died and to their loved ones to do everything we can to make sure that New York workers return home safely to their families."

Among New York's worker fatalities

  • 92% were men
  • 36% were in New York City
  • Ages ranged from under 18 to more than 75 years of age
  • 182 were wage and salary employees; 37 were self-employed or working in a family business.

Additional Information:

  • New York was fourth in foreign-born worker deaths, behind California, Texas and Florida.
  • 142 victims were White Non-Hispanic (64 percent), 41 were Hispanic/Latino (18 percent), 25 were Black or African-American (11 percent), and 10 were Asian (4 percent).
  • Many workers who lost their lives worked in known high-risk occupations such as construction workers, police officers, firefighters and transportation workers. However, New York farmers, auto mechanics, landscapers, maintenance workers, and health care workers also died on the job.
  • The workers who died also made contributions to New York State as musicians, little league coaches, artists, readers, life coaches, gardeners, cooks, community activists, and volunteers.

The State Health Department assists in the prevention of workplace fatal injuries through two programs: the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and the New York Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program.

The Census program collects information on work-related deaths and evaluates statewide trends and risk factors to help direct prevention measures. The Assessment program conducts on-site fatality investigations, studies causes, develops prevention materials and disseminates these materials in partnership with employers, trade associations, labor unions, workers and government agencies.

Results of the two programs can be found at http://www.nyhealth.gov/environmental/investigations/face/

Please contact the NYS Department of Health Public Affairs Office at 518-474-7354 Ext. 1