Today, April 28, is Workers’ Memorial Day, a day to remember workers killed or injured on the job and to fight for strong safety and health provisions for all workers. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, this day takes on an even deeper meaning.

We have had reports of rank-and-file Teamsters who have been infected, and some who have died, from COVID-19. We are in the midst of a national emergency and essential workers—many of them Teamsters—are putting their own health on the line to keep the rest of us safe, healthy and fed.

Before COVID-19, an average of 14 workers died each day of workplace injuries. The most recent data available tells us that more than 5,000 workers died on the job in 2018. This is not including the approximately 100,000 workers who died from occupational diseases in 2018. When the numbers eventually come out for 2020, they will be staggering.

As workers’ lives are being upended in new ways each day, many employers are not making the same necessary adjustments. Many worker deaths could have been prevented if employers had provided the proper protective equipment, enforced social distancing guidelines or any number of other precautions.