A young boy plants a small tree in memoriam on Workers' Memorial Day.
Safety in the workplace has always been a concern of the labor movement. Regrettably, it took the tragic deaths of 146 women in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire to galvanize public awareness for the need for reform. 100 years later organized labor is still fighting for a safe work environment.The resistance to safe practices is evident is the number of preventable mishaps. An examination of the coal mining industry too easily proves the case. In 2011, according to final fatality data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,693 workers were killed on the job—an average of 13 workers every day—and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases.