April 28 marked the 10th anniversary of Pittsburgh's Workers' Memorial
Day. Each year, bells chime in Market Square to commemorate workers who
lost their lives due to
workplace injuries. This year, there were 21 chimes in all, and the names of the deceased
were displayed on crosses.
After the bells rang out, the event featured speakers who issued a call
to action to improve workplace safety. The speakers included a man who
sustained severe burns in an explosion at a steel plant in Clairton. He
spoke of the emotional and physical struggles he has endured since the
July 2010 accident.
As the bells chimed, the former steamfitter reflected on how close he was
to death. "That could have been my cross up there, bell ringing for
me," he said.
Although workplace safety may be improving in many cases, there is still
much work to be done. Most of the people who were honored on this year's
Workers' Memorial Day were employed in the construction industry,
though a variety of other jobs were proven to be just as dangerous.
People in Pennsylvania who have been injured at work should know that they
are entitled to workers' compensation benefits. These benefits are
meant to reimburse employees for the costs associated with their work-related
injuries. In addition to lost wages, medical bills and rehabilitation
costs can be financially devastating without workers' compensation.
If an injury results in a permanent disability, then the injured employee
may be entitled to specific loss benefits. And in the case that a workplace
accident results in a worker's death, as it did for those honored
recently in Pittsburgh, the family should consider filing for death benefits
to cover lost wages and other costs related to losing a loved one.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Danger in the workplace recounted," Kaitlynn Riely, April 28, 2012