Next Worker Memorial Day:
Thursday, April 28, 2 to 3 p.m.
Worker Memorial Day 2022: Virtual Event
Worker Memorial Day events occur in communities and work sites all across the country and around the world to honor the hundreds of thousands of people who are killed while working each year.
In Washington State, it's been 29 years since the first Worker Memorial Day ceremony was held here at the L&I building in Tumwater.
Like last year, L&I will hold the ceremony virtually, as COVID-19 remains a threat to the public and workers in our state. It is one of the most important things we do at L&I, and our hearts go out to the friends and families of the fallen workers.
For our L&I teammates, we hope the ceremony reminds you how important your work is at L&I. We honor each of these workers and recommit ourselves to continue working hard until this ceremony is no longer needed.
Past Worker Memorial Day Events
Many families of the fallen workers provide a photograph of their loved one for use in the service. Since 2010, families have also been invited to provide a few words about their loved one for use in a commemorative pamphlet.
- Names of workers lost in 2020
- News release: COVID-19 victims among the fallen workers to be honored in April 28 ceremony
- Video of the ceremony
- Names of workers lost in 2019
- News release: Remembering workers who sacrificed their lives — L&I encourages moment of silence for lost workers and those on the front lines
History of Worker Memorial Day
A day honoring workers who have died from job-related injuries or illnesses has been observed in the United States since 1989, but prior to that date had already been observed in Canada for several years.
The original organizers chose April 28 as the date to observe the occasion because it is the anniversary of the official creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and is the same date as Canada's remembrance. Today, Worker Memorial Day is observed around the world.
The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has observed Worker Memorial Day since 1990 and, in 1993, began conducting a special ceremony to mark the day.
A book is maintained in the lobby of L&I's Tumwater building with the names of fallen workers added each year and, in 1998, a Worker Memorial Garden was dedicated on the Tumwater grounds.
In 2007, a brass bell sculpture by artist Tom Torrens, commissioned and donated by the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council, was installed in the garden. L&I's Worker Memorial Day ceremony now includes family members ringing this bell.
While most Worker Memorial Day observances across the country are sponsored by labor groups, L&I is unique in being a state agency recognizing fallen workers. L&I's ceremony strives to provide a somber remembrance memorializing the workers who have died while at the same time reminding everyone that workplace safety can be a matter of life and death.
Other Worker Memorial Day Events in the State
April 24, 2019
Wednesday, April 24, 5 p.m.
Worker Memorial Park, Mission Courtyard, corner of Pacific and Wetmore
Sponsored by the Snohomish County Labor Council.
Wednesday, April 24, 11:30 a.m.
University of Washington Seattle Campus, Husky Union Building (HUB), Lyceum Room
For more details, contact Nancy Simcox at 206-221-7107.
April 27, 2019
Saturday, April 27, 11 a.m.
City of Spokane Mission Park (Mission and Perry)
Sponsored by the Spokane Regional Labor Council, AFL-CIO; for more information, call 509-327-7637.
April 29, 2019
Monday, April 29, noon
Bellingham Public Library Lawn
Sponsored by the Northwest Washington Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO; for more information, call 360-676-0099 or contact the Northwest Washington Central Labor Council.