Thursday, April 26, 2012

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis on Sheri Sangji

An essay on worker safety (in advance of Workers Memorial Day) written for US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis chooses to point out Sheri Sangji as an example: 
Every day, 12 workers die on the job across America. As the nation's secretary of labor, I am surrounded by numbers about jobs, the labor market and about the economy more broadly. But the number 12 stays with me. It is a haunting reminder of the hard-working Americans we lose every day, often in the prime of their life, filled with the energy that we need to build a better world. 
Sheri Sangji was one of these Americans, so full of promise. She was a 23-year-old research assistant in a lab at the University of California at Los Angeles, looking forward to a career that would allow her to pursue her interests in chemistry, law and the rights of women and immigrants. One day, while performing an experiment with highly reactive chemicals, a flash fire ignited her clothes and skin, causing fatal burns. Sheri had not been properly trained in the handling of the chemical that set off the blaze. I later met her family, a loving and tight-knit group of people. The weight of their loss was nearly unbearable. I think about them every day. 
To remember Sheri Sangji and all others who die on the job across our country, we observe Workers Memorial Day every April 28. Today, we remember families who have lost a loved one because of workplace injuries, and we pledge to continue fighting tirelessly to make sure that no worker trades a life for a livelihood.
I don't have much to say about this, other than to praise the writer's accuracy as to the facts of the #SheriSangji case. Nicely done. 

2 comments:

  1. A bit of a side-note to this, but being eternally interested in comparisons between the US, the UK and Europe I asked Google and found that the US has roughly 4 deaths per 100,000 workers per year; for the UK that figure is 1.1, while the EU average is 2.5.

    It's slightly old date from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workplace_safety
    The 2010/2011 figure for the UK is 0.6.

    I'm not trying to make a point, I was just interested to see how things compared and thought I'd share the info.

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    Replies
    1. The comparison is probably meaningless without adjustments for factors such as average number of hours worked per year, and even then it should probably split by industry.

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