Today is Workers Memorial Day, a day we all recognize as a time to lament the loss of workers throughout the world. There are plenty of rallies and demonstrations out there for you to participate in if you wish, but I use this day to reflect.
Anyone out there who thinks we have one of those cushy government jobs should spend a couple of days with one of us as we do a fatality investigation. It's been a quite few years since I did my first fatality, but my memories of it are as vivid today as they were then. Looking down and realizing I was standing in the blood of a man who was, at that very moment, in the morgue, his wife and child just finding out. They say you never forget your first, and they're right.
I get asked every now and then why I work for OSHA. I get asked by friends and family, employers, employees and once in awhile by people on the street. Some of them ask with curiosity, some with disdain and even a few with respect. I always try to explain, but I'm never very good at it, maybe it's because I lack the words or maybe because there are no words to describe what I've seen. When I was young my father gave me a poster. It showed a beautiful waterfall ending in a deep pool of water surrounded by vegetation and a caption that said "If you do not understand my silence, you will not understand my words."
For me Worker's Memorial Day isn't about rallies and people railing against injustice, for me it is about remembering those past fatality investigations and taking a moment of silence. I hope you understand.