Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson and MaryBe McMillan, President, North Carolina State AFL-CIO released the following statement regarding Workers’ Memorial Day 2022:
“Workers’ Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor the men and women who have tragically lost their lives while on the job. The loss of a worker impacts not only those co-workers left behind, but families, friends, and the community as a whole. The N.C. Department of Labor and the N.C State AFL-CIO share a common commitment to ensuring safe and productive workplaces, with the ultimate goal of returning workers home to their families at the end of the day. We believe that every person deserves the opportunity to earn a living while working in a job that values their worth and their humanity.
“April 28 also marks the anniversary of the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which represented a tremendous step forward in workplace safety and health. Though workplaces are much safer than in the past, we agree that more work is necessary. The NCDOL and the N.C. State AFL-CIO pledge to work together to effectuate the following safety and health goals:
• Request funds from the N.C. General Assembly to increase compensation for Safety and Health Compliance Officers.
• Take additional steps to fill vacant Safety and Health Compliance Officer positions and increase the number of total positions.
• Include a bilingual preference on job postings for Occupational Safety and Health, Agricultural Safety and Health, and Wage and Hour Bureau positions.
• Amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act to extend the current six-month statute of limitation on issuing citations.
• Amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act to align North Carolina’s civil penalties with federal OSHA’s penalty structure.
• Increase transparency by publishing NCDOL activities and statistics on a more frequent basis.
• Continue our commitment to open dialogue between NCDOL and worker advocacy organizations.
“All working people have the right to a safe job. No family deserves to suffer the grief of a loved one lost prematurely while working for a better life. NCDOL and the N.C. State AFL-CIO are able to work much more effectively as partners rather than as adversaries. This is the least we can do to honor North Carolinians who have died on the job and to proactively prevent workplace injuries and fatalities in the future.”