International Workers Memorial Day 2023 & the Fight Against Asbestos Exposure

Construction worker holding his hard hat

Commemorated annually on April 28, International Workers Memorial Day honors the employees who have sustained injuries, become disabled, or lost their lives as a result of their jobs.

Introduced in 1989, International Workers Memorial Day also highlights unsafe working conditions that too many employees have suffered in throughout their careers. Oftentimes, workers are put at risk due to faulty equipment, lack of proper training, or exposure to hazardous materials or substances that may cause irreversible harm.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 5,200 employees died from workplace injuries in 2022 — a nearly 9% increase from 2020.

One of the most concerning materials workers continue to be exposed to today is asbestos — the only known cause of an aggressive form of cancer known as mesothelioma.

At Sokolove Law, our mesothelioma lawyers are dedicated to seeking justice on behalf of those harmed by asbestos-related companies.

Get a Free Mesothelioma Case Review

A Nation of Dangerous Asbestos Occupations

Before the 1980s, when the United States began regulating the use of asbestos, many jobs put employees in direct contact with asbestos on a regular basis.

Because asbestos is cheap, durable, fireproof, and water resistant, the toxic mineral was used across dozens of industries and was present in thousands of products and worksites.

However, exposure to asbestos can cause workers to develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases decades after their initial exposure.

For a long time, ordinary Americans didn’t know about the dangers of asbestos — but many companies did. Instead of keeping workers and consumers safe, these manufacturers downplayed the risks to the public in order to protect their profits.

These companies knowingly endangered high-risk asbestos occupations like:

This is only a few of the jobs associated with high levels of asbestos exposure.

To this day, asbestos can still be found in certain workplaces. If disturbed and made airborne, workers face a disproportionately high risk of mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and other cancers.

Though use has gradually declined since the 1970s, asbestos is still legal in the United States.

Global and National Workplace Safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 promises Americans the right to a safe work environment. Unfortunately, as workplace dangers persist, there is still progress to be made.

In the U.S., an estimated 2.6 million workers sustained nonfatal work-related injuries in 2021, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the rate of occupational injuries and deaths can only be estimated, as this data is dependent upon companies’ self-reports.

Federal workplace safety agencies are often understaffed and underfunded. Many organizations are never visited by representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and penalties are still too infrequent to incentivize companies to reliably regulate themselves.

International Workers Memorial Day raises public awareness of these issues and holds nations accountable for prioritizing workplace safety in line with international labor standards. The event acknowledges the lives that have been lost while continuing to fight for fundamental rights to health and safety at work.

This day is about both remembrance and action: acknowledging lives lost and continuing to fight for our fundamental right to health and safety at work.

Remember the dead, fight for the living,” as the slogan for International Workers Memorial Day goes.

Fighting for Justice on Behalf of Injured Workers

For over 45 years, Sokolove Law has fought on behalf of workers who have been injured or harmed on the job. We have seen firsthand how corporations prioritize profit over the health and safety of their employees.

Unfortunately, asbestos is not the only dangerous substance U.S. workers may be exposed to. PFAS chemicals found in firefighting foam have also been linked to many types of cancer and other serious health conditions.

If you have been injured on the job — including developing long-term health conditions like mesothelioma or other forms of cancer from exposure to dangerous substances — you may be able to pursue financial compensation.

Call (800) 995-1212 now to learn more about your legal options during a free case review.

Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: April 21, 2023

  1. American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. “Workers Memorial Day.” Retrieved from: Accessed on April 11, 2023.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Traumatic Occupational Injuries.” Retrieved from: Accessed on April 11, 2023.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Workers Memorial Day.” Retrieved from: Accessed on April 11, 2023.
  4. International Labor Organization. “Facts on Safety at Work.” Retrieved from: Accessed on April 6, 2023.
  5. University and College Union. “International Workers’ Memorial Day.” Retrieved from: Accessed on April 11, 2023.
  6. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2021.” Retrieved from: Accessed on April 6, 2023.
  7. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, 2021.” Retrieved from: Accessed on April 11, 2023.