JOLIET – State Senator Rachel Ventura, along with prominent workers’ rights advocates and Three Rivers Manufacturers’ Association, came together at Joliet Junior College Friday to promote and highlight the importance of improving workplace safety and honor those who have been injured or killed from workplace accidents.

“It’s essential to practice safety in the workplace to prevent these injuries and deaths. Every person deserves a safe work environment, and employers need to be diligent in following the rules in place,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “As a member of the Warehouse Safety Task Force, I recognize the efforts that the state is making to improve safety in Illinois and encourage all employers to regularly update and educate their workers on workplace safety.”

Ventura recently passed a resolution in the Senate to declare April 26, 2024 as Workers' Memorial Day in Illinois. Senate Resolution 895 encourages all employers to reaffirm their efforts toward improving workplace safety and serves as a day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured, or made unwell by their work. Additionally, it strives to seek stronger health standard enforcement and treating workers with dignity as constant improvements in worker safety are pursued.

According to the U.S. Labor of Statistics, in 2022 around 2.8 million people experienced nonfatal injuries and illnesses in the private industry, in addition to 5,486 fatal injuries. In Illinois, private industry employers reported 112,500 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2022.

The event included speakers such as Gary Lescallett, the OSHA regional administrator, Ray Woodworth, executive director of Three Rivers Manufacturers’ Association, State Representative Harry Benton and Joliet Junior College President Clyne Namuo. The Joliet Junior College choir also was in attendance and performed the National Anthem.

Additionally, a bell provided by the Joliet Fire Department Honor Guard was rang 29 times to honor the 29 individuals who lost their lives due to unsafe working conditions in the state.

“Recognizing Workers’ Memorial Day is important because it serves as a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made by workers who have lost their lives on the job,” said Woodworth. “It underscores the need for employers to prioritize the well-being of their employees. By commemorating this day, we reinforce our commitment to creating safer work environments.”

Workers’ Memorial Day internationally is celebrated on April 28 following the signing of the Occupational Safety and Health Act that went into effect over 50 years ago, promising every worker the right to a safe job as a fundamental right.