Labor Day – Celebrating America’s Workers and Helping the Injured

Labor Day – Celebrating America’s Workers and Helping the InjuredAmerica’s strength and prosperity has always been linked to its hard-working people. The first Monday of September is a day reserved to celebrate America’s workers and a time to make ensure workers are appreciated, respected, and safe at work.

The workers’ compensation attorneys at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys discuss Labor Day and workplace injuries in today’s blog.

A brief history of Labor Day

In the late nineteenth century, labor activists pressed for a federal holiday celebrating American workers and their contributions. Before it became a federal holiday, many states recognized Labor Day unofficially. The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated in New York City on September 5, 1882. Then, one by one, individual states added ordinances, then bills, then laws establishing Labor Day as a state holiday. By 1894, numerous states recognized Labor Day as a holiday and, on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making it a legal holiday.

There is controversy over who initially proposed Labor Day. There are two labor activists and workers who may be responsible. In 1882, Peter J. McGuire, who was the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, suggested a day off for the laboring classes. New research supports the idea that Matthew MaGuire, a machinist and the secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York, also proposed the holiday in 1882.

The New Jersey Historical Society states that after President Cleveland signed the law for a national Labor Day, the Paterson Morning Call ran an opinion piece stating that Alderman Matthew Maguire of Paterson, New Jersey was the undisputed author of Labor Day. Both Maguire and McGuire attended the very first Labor Day parade in New York City in 1894.

Labor Day today

Today, most Americans celebrate Labor Day with picnics, parties, parades, and fireworks. Today’s celebrations are in line with what was proposed back in 1882 – street parades to exhibit the strength of the workforce, and festivities full of recreation for workers and families.

Times have changed, but American workers continue to demonstrate strength and diligence. Labor Day offers all laborers a well-deserved day off and brings the American worker to the limelight, encouraging workers to rest and enjoy time off, while reminding employers to make sure employees are happy, healthy, and safe at work.

Safety at work – how safe are Missourians at work?

According to the Missouri Department of Labor, there have been 50 work-related fatalities in 2022 through June 30. There have been a total of 40,860 injury incidents on the job in Missouri for the same period.

In 2021, there were 142 fatalities in work-related incidents and 91,808 injury incidents for the year across the state.

Safety on Missouri construction sites

The Missouri Department of Labor broke down the highest number of construction accidents that resulted in injuries to the following for 2021: “The highest number of injury incidents in the Construction industry occurred at Noon, in June, on Wednesday, on multiple body parts, on males between the ages of 20-29, and in St. Louis County.”

In 2021, the top 10 body parts injured in construction incidents were as follows:

  • Multiple Body Parts 768
  • Finger(s)/Thumb(s) 480
  • Knees(s)/Lower Leg(s) 414
  • Wrist(s)/Hand(s) 379
  • Upper Arm(s)/Shoulder(s) 347
  • Back 302
  • Ankle(s)/Foot/Feet 296
  • Elbow(s)/Lower Arm(s) 172
  • Eye(s) 138
  • Abdomen/Groin/Buttocks 87

Safety tips for Kansas City workers

Safety is a priority for anyone at work, whether you work on a scaffolding 100 feet up in the air or you sit at a desk in a fancy office. Knowing how to use machinery, being aware of your surroundings, knowing emergency procedures, and following basic rules may prevent a tragedy at work from happening. Here are some simple tips to follow to make safety a priority at work:

  • Use all machinery, tools, and equipment properly and with care
  • Always wear necessary safety gear
  • Keep workplace clear of clutter
  • Stay hydrated
  • Practice good posture while sitting or lifting
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Follow procedures, do not take shortcuts
  • Remain aware of new safety procedures
  • Report unsafe conditions immediately

What to do if you are injured at a construction site

Should you suffer an injury while working on a construction site in Kansas City (or anywhere in Missouri or Kansas), be sure to take the following steps to protect your rights:

  • Report the accident immediately to your supervisor
  • Try to document the accident in writing
  • Ask co-workers to provide statements to your supervisor about what they witnessed
  • Seek medical treatment even if you believe the injury is minor in nature
  • Follow all of the doctor’s orders and continue to go to appointments if they are scheduled
  • Do NOT accept any settlement offers from insurance adjusters
  • Speak to an experienced attorney about your injury

Have you suffered an injury while working on a construction site, in retail, or at any other type of business? You deserve to be compensated for your injuries so you can focus on recovery. The workers’ compensation attorneys at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys will investigate the accident that left you injured and fight for your right to compensation. Call our office at 816-471-5111, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today. We have offices in Kansas City, Lee’s Summit, Parkville and St. Joseph, MO; and Olathe and Overland Park, KS. All offices except the Kansas City location are by appointment only.