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Illinois community honors work accident victims

For Workers' Memorial Day, Illinois residents were out in full force to honor workers who have died while on the job. For those who came, nearly everybody was personally aware of the impact of losing a loved in a work accident. On a recent evening, one Illinois community gathered to lay roses at the Workers Memorial Monument in memory of a lost loved one.

For those who spoke at the ceremony, it was a very emotional experience. As people remembered those who had fallen while trying to earn a living and provide for their family, words did not necessarily come easily.

A wide-variety of different industries came together, including those from various local labor unions. They spoke of how everyone has a responsibility to take care of those who work alongside them and to remember those who had passed on.

Only decades ago, a worker who entered a dangerous industry either had to suffer through the environment or find another job. After a series of labor reforms, worker safety measures have helped reduce the number work-related injuries and fatalities. Nationwide, the numbers of those who died from work accidents daily has been reduced to 12 from a whopping 38.

However, as the local director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminded those attending the services, that any and all work-related deaths should be avoided, even though drastic improvements have been made over the last several decades. In addition, this hardly accounts for the often devastating, non-fatal work injuries that occur daily.

Work accidents are an unfortunate reality, something to which those who spoke at the memorial can no doubt attest. Labor reforms have afforded injured employees the ability to file for workers' compensation benefits. In this way, victims of a work accident may be able to pay for any related expenses they have incurred. These benefits can help workers make the difficult adjustment to life after an injury.

Source: Peoria Journal Star, "Laborers honor those who've died on the job," Eric Engel, April 23, 2012

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