Governor Newsom Issues Proclamation Declaring Workers’ Memorial Day
Workers’ Memorial Day is a time to remember the men and women who have lost their lives on the job and renew our commitment to securing safe and healthy working conditions for all workers.
Worldwide, an estimated 2.3 million people die each year from work-related accidents and illnesses. In California, 422 workers lost their lives in 2018. California’s 19 million workers have helped build the fifth-largest economy in the world, and the contributions of our workforce help all Californians to live and thrive in the state. Workers serving in California’s many industries put themselves at risk of serious injury every day.
This Workers’ Memorial Day, the heroism of our essential workers is on display all across the state as health care workers, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, farm workers, grocery workers, port workers, delivery drivers, child care workers, utility workers, janitors and others continue to serve their fellow Californians during these challenging times. California is profoundly grateful to these women and men and is committed to protecting those who are protecting us.
Our state is at the forefront of workplace safety and has taken urgent action during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure front-line workers are taken care of in the workplace and at home. Cal/OSHA has posted infection prevention guidance to help employers comply with safety requirements. My administration has taken emergency action to ensure two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave to certain food sector workers, and provided health and safety standards to increase worker and customer protection at food facilities. Other critical supports include temporary housing options for front-line health care workers to help keep their families safe and ensuring that essential workers have the child care resources they need.
California has a long history of establishing and enforcing safeguards that always meet and frequently exceed federal requirements. California was the first state in the nation to adopt an Injury and Illness Prevention Program standard in 1991, a comprehensive rule that ensures training to prevent workplace hazards. Our state was also the first to address the dangers heat poses to outdoor workers following brutal heat waves in 2005 that killed 10 workers. Cal/OSHA’s outdoor heat illness regulation, now known as the Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez heat illness prevention standard, was adopted on an emergency basis in August 2005 and strengthened in 2015.
As California responds to and recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue our legacy of robust policies that protect the health and safety of our workforce. We are committed to listening to workers about what it takes to rebuild a fair, green and prosperous economy.
California continues to engage in outreach, public awareness and education efforts to inform employers of their responsibilities and workers of their right to a workplace where injuries, illnesses and deaths are preventable. Together, we will make every effort to prevent occupational fatalities and serious injuries, and provide a safe and healthful workplace for all.