Media Room

PREPARED REMARKS

Workers Memorial Day Proclamation Signing, April 28, 2015


Good afternoon.

As some of us here know all too well, no job is worth the cost of a life. No family can feel stable and secure when they’re worried about the safety of their loved ones.

I want every worker to return home safely at the end of their shift. We must honor those who have died while trying to earn a living by ensuring a safe workplace for every Oregonian.

The wellbeing of our workforce is more than just a safety issue. It is essential to the economic health of the entire state.

Oregon’s economy is turning a corner, with just 5.4 percent of Oregonians unemployed. This is slightly lower than the national average, and the state’s lowest unemployment in eight years. But these gains are not worth the loss of a single life.

Oregon businesses have been great partners in expanding workforce training and job opportunities so that more Oregon families can thrive.  As more workers enter the workforce, employers must remain committed to worker safety and accident prevention. And workers must be willing to stand up and say something when safe working conditions are not maintained.

Even with increasing numbers of working Oregonians, fatalities at work have remained relatively stable. But, stable is not enough.  One work-related fatality is one too many.  Too many families facing an uncertain future. Too many families that we are called on to remember on days like today. 

I know Oregon can do better.