State's fallen workers honored April 26

The parents, spouses, children and other relatives of 69 people who died from a job-related illness or injury last year will be honored at the Department of Labor & Industries’ (L&I) 2012 Worker Memorial Day ceremony on Thurs., April 26.

The 69 workers to be honored include the very young, such as an 18-year-old construction worker, to seniors in the workforce, like the 84-year-old storage manager murdered at work. Some worked in jobs considered hazardous, like logging, construction and fishing, and others were in less hazardous professions, such as retail management, dry cleaning, or research.

“A workplace death can happen anywhere and, when it does, the lives of those close to the person who died are changed forever,” said L&I Director Judy Schurke. “Worker Memorial Day is our chance to honor those who died on the job or from illnesses that resulted from their work, and let their friends and families know that they will not be forgotten.”

The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. at L&I’s central building, located at 7273 Linderson Way SW, in Tumwater. Speakers will include representatives from Gov. Chris Gregoire’s office, the Association of Washington Business, the Washington State Labor Council, and the Washington Self-Insurers Association. The ceremony includes a reading of the names of the workers who died, accompanied by bell ringers from the Tumwater Fire Department. After the ceremony, the families are invited to ring the brass bell in the Worker Memorial garden on the grounds of the L&I building. A book in the lobby of L&I’s Tumwater building contains the names of all the fallen workers.

The agency has hosted a ceremony for Worker Memorial Day for 19 years.

For a complete list of those being honored, visit


The Worker Memorial Garden on the grounds of the Department of Labor & Industries' headquarters in Tumwater serves as a year-round remembrance of fallen workers. In 2007, a brass bell sculpture by artist Tom Torrens was donated by the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council and installed in the garden. The garden and bell are dedicated to all Washington workers who die from a workplace injury or illness. Each year at the annual Worker Memorial Day ceremony relatives ring this bell in honor of their loved one. (PHOTO COURTESY WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR & INDUSTRIES)