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April 27, 2018

At 25th annual Worker Memorial Ceremony, a shared commitment to safety

By: Brian Mittge   Comments: 0
Bob Battles, AWB government affairs director for employment law, speaks during the 2018 Worker Memorial Day at the Washington Department of Labor & Industries on April 26, 2018. (Photo: Brian Mittge/AWB)
A solemn bell of remembrance rang 65 times on Thursday, as leaders from business and labor read the names of every Washington worker who died on the job or from a work-related injury or illness in the last year.

AWB joined Gov. Jay Inslee, the Washington State Labor Council and other employment-related groups at the annual Washington Worker Memorial Day, held at the Department of Labor & Industries headquarters.

Addressing the crowd of family members of fallen workers, Inslee said that their presence at the ceremony was an act of courage that will inspire great work to improve safety and prevent future deaths.

"The pain you have felt since your loss is shared," said Inslee. "The loss to your individual family is a loss to the state of Washington." 

Bagpipers from the Puget Sound Fire Fighters Pipes and Drums enter the 2018 Worker Memorial Day ceremony.
Bob Battles, AWB general counsel and government affairs director for workplace issues, spoke on behalf of the business community, and told the assembled families that those they lost will not be forgotten. 

"I stand here representing thousands of employers in this state -- to honor our loved ones," Battles said. "Each year at this event, I repeat this phrase: No matter how many rules we have, it comes down to one thing -- a commitment by everyone, both employers and employees, to safety."

Lynne Dodson, secretary-treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, represented organized labor at the ceremony. 

"We must recommit ourselves to fighting back to make every workplace safe," she said. "Let us remember that these are preventable deaths."

Gov. Jay Inslee speaks during the 2018 Worker Memorial Day.
This was the 25th year of the Washington Worker Memorial Ceremony. Since it was first held a quarter century ago, more than 2,000 names have been read for workers who died on the job or from work-related ailments, said Joel Sacks, director of Labor & Industries.

Sacks noted that, from the beginning, Washington's Worker Memorial Day ceremony has been unique, in that it includes representatives of labor, business and government.

"Being together symbolizes Washington's collaborative approach to creating safer workplaces," Sacks said. 

More than half of the workers who died on the job were lost due to falls or in traffic crashes, but there were also four who died as a result of homicide in the workplace, and one woman in her 80s died from injuries sustained in 2012 after she fell while on the job. 

Inslee noted that Washington will soon celebrate National Safety Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, and said that this is an important way to address one of the deadliest parts of any workplace. 

Judy Schurke, president of Kids' Chance of Washington, speaks during the 2018 Worker Memorial Day.
Judy Schurke, the new president of Kids' Chance of Washington, spoke about this scholarship program, supported in part by AWB, which provides educational assistance to the children and families of those who died or were permanently disabled on the job. Learn more about Kids' Chance of Washington here.

The variety of workers who died on the job or from work-related ailments is as diverse as Washington itself -- from iron workers and truck drivers to small business owners and real estate agents. As a reminder that each fallen worker will be remembered, the event's speakers took turns reading names as firefighters rang a bell for each fallen worker. 

Here are the names read aloud, and permanently recorded in a book of memory on display at L&I. They are Washington's fallen workers of 2017

Aleksey V. Andreychenko ■ Beau D. Brown ■ Cody W. Buffington James “ ■ Jim” R. Bullis ■ Scott “Scotty” ■ C. R.  Burbank ■ Robert A. Burton ■ Curtis L. Campbell ■ Aaron Z. Cochran ■ Bradley J. Donovan ■  Raymond K. Estores ■ Jeffry A. Eyelander ■ Kenneth W. Fennix Jr. ■ George R. Follis ■ Robert L. Fruhling ■ Johnathan D. Gettys ■ John I. Gonzalez ■ Daniel A. Hall Jr. ■ Edward D. Hedrick ■ Amy M. Hooser ■  Timothy D. Igo ■ Jaurette M. Jackson ■ Vikram Jaryal ■ Ruth L. Jones ■ Timothy J. Koelzer ■ Jon A. Koker ■ Nicholas A. Leavitt ■ Andrew D. Long Jr. ■ Jorge Luquin Solorzano ■ Cody Ryan MacKinnon ■ Brian K. Mattis ■ Brian L. Meyer ■ Jeffrey Midstokke ■ Joseph N. Motley ■ Miguel A. Penado Nieto ■ Randy D. Pierce ■ Stephen A. Poch ■ Humberto Ramirez Vera ■ Remigio Ramos Santay ■ Garrett J. Raphael ■ Lory R. Reimann ■ Raymundo T. Rodriguez ■ Carlos G. Sanchez ■ Roger L. Sanders ■ James F. Schneider ■ John P. Schneider ■ Fred J. Schoenbachler ■ Jacob W. Scott ■ Gary E. Selberg ■ Archeni Selifis ■ Dale L. Siebert ■ Ronald R. Slagg ■ Cameron L. Smith ■ Ronald A. Smith ■ Robert C. Spinner Jr. ■ Roy E. Stevens ■ Trobin K. Stilz ■ Otto J. Taufen ■ Stephen T. Townsend ■ Marion O’Dale Triplett ■ Andrew M. Ward ■ Timothy J. Waterman ■ Douglas K. Way ■ Peter R. Woods ■ Duane H. Wright ■ Cheryl Mae Wrona