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For immediate release: Sept. 3, 2015

Ceremony honors memory of Ohioans lost due to workplace accidents

COLUMBUS - The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) today held the fifth annual Fallen Workers Memorial honoring Ohio workers who died as the result of a workplace accident. BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer was joined by members of the BWC Board of Directors, along with labor and business leaders, at the ceremony in BWC's William Green Building.

"Now in its fifth year, this ceremony has become a tradition for BWC and all of our partners, but it is far from routine," said BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer. "It is a moving reminder each year that too many of our friends, neighbors and family members are paying the ultimate price for their work. It also provides renewed inspiration for our commitment to our core mission of preventing workplace accidents to avoid these tragedies in the future."

The names of 132 workers were read aloud during the ceremony.* Buehrer, BWC Board of Directors members Nicholas Zuk (Chairman) and Peggy Griffith, along with Tim Burga, president of the Ohio AFL-CIO, and Roger Geiger, Vice President/Ohio Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, reflected on the service of these workers and the tragedy of their loss to their families, their communities and their employers.

"Millions of Ohio workers simply want to be productive employees and colleagues while building a better life for themselves and their families," said Burga. "Those we have lost will not be forgotten but will unite us all in a common mission to ensure all workers thrive and come home safely at the end of every shift."

"Every day Ohioans put their best foot forward in service to our state's businesses, which could not succeed without their ingenuity and strong work ethic," said Geiger. "We are deeply saddened when any worker is injured or taken from their families while on the job, and today we solemnly gather to recognize these workers, and remind ourselves that workplace safety should be the highest priority for all."

In honor of the fifth anniversary of the memorial, a new memorial bell was unveiled by Buehrer, Zuk, and Griffith. The bell will be put on permanent display in BWC's William Green building as an enduring tribute to these lost workers that will be seen year round by the employees and visitors to the building.

Director Griffith recited the poem, "Memorial for Workers," and the names of the fallen were read by Freddie Johnson, BWC's chief of medical services, and BWC employees Markus Johns representing OCSEA and Kelly Hopkins, SEIU Local 1199 representative. Buehrer also read aloud a resolution issued by Governor John Kasich asking that all Ohioans pay tribute to those who lost their lives on the job.

The ceremony concluded with the tolling of the bell.

Names of the fallen workers are available at bwc.ohio.gov.

*Including 64 allowed claims with dates of death in the last policy year (7/1/14-6/30/15), as well as 68 allowed claims with dates of death that fell within the two-year filing period and were not included in previous memorials.

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Photos from today’s event:

Photo #1BWC Administrator/CEO Steve Buehrer reads a proclamation from Gov. John Kasich commemorating Ohio’s fallen workers at the Fallen Workers Memorial held in the William Green Building Auditorium Thursday.

Photo #2BWC Board Director Peggy Griffith and Chairman Nicholas Zuk present the new memorial bell that will ring to commemorate Ohio workers killed on the job at the Fallen Workers Memorial. The memorial bell will eventually be on display in the William Green Building.

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