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Today is Workers’ Memorial Day — the international day to remember workers who were injured, disabled, made unwell, or who died on the job.

In just a six-year-period, in Massachusetts, 356 workers died on the job (2008-2013).

These workers were our family members, friends and neighbors who died just trying to make a living. They died from motor vehicle crashes, while transporting goods to our stores; from drowning while fishing and being injured by machinery, while catching and processing the food we eat; and from falls, while building our schools and repairing our homes.

In Massachusetts, falling to a lower level is routinely the single most common event resulting in work fatalities, with most fatal falls occurring in construction. For years, the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation project (MA FACE) at DPH has supported outreach efforts of the national Safety Pays. Falls Cost. campaign. A past effort to promote the campaign was dissemination of  a series of falls brochures we developed for residential contractors on ladder safety, scaffold safety, personal fall arrest systems, and myths about falls in construction, available in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

This year, to promote fall prevention more broadly, MA FACE has translated its fall prevention brochures into Haitian Creole, one of the top five languages among Massachusetts residents for whom English is not the first language. We’re timing dissemination of these brochures with the national campaign’s 2016 Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, a voluntary event for employers to talk with their employees about fall hazards and help to reinforce the importance of fall prevention.

Any employer or workplace that wants to help prevent worker falls can participate. Participation can be a simple toolbox talk or other activity to start the conversation about fall prevention, or a more involved event, such as sending employees to a multi-day training.

To order MA FACE materials, free of charge, for your Safety Stand Down event, visit the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse.

We know how to prevent work-related injuries and deaths: Plan ahead to get the job done safely; provide the right equipment; train everyone to use the equipment safely.

All workers should be provided with safe workplaces that allow them to return home at the end of their work day, as healthy as when they started the day.

Written By:


Occupational Fatality Projects Coordinator, Occupational Health Surveillance Program

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