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ASSP Remembers Deadly Factory Fire and Supports Worker Memorial

Workplace safety and health became national news more than 100 years ago this week when the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City led to the deaths of 146 garment workers – most of them women and girls as young as 14 years old – on March 25, 1911. The incident in lower Manhattan is still the deadliest industrial disaster in New York City history.

A few months after the tragedy came the creation of the world’s oldest professional safety organization – the United Association of Casualty Inspectors now known as the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP). The organization remains dedicated to progressively advancing the safety and health of workers everywhere.

ASSP encourages all companies and their workers to join the Society in recognizing this solemn anniversary by observing a moment of silence at 4:45 p.m. ET Saturday, March 25 – the exact time the first alarm was sounded – to pay tribute to the workers who died in the fire while also refocusing on creating safe work environments. ASSP also released a new podcast that features a prominent author who discusses the far-reaching impact of the disaster.

To recognize the nation’s legacy of reform and honor those who died, the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition is creating a memorial at the original site. It will be a lasting reminder of the need for workplace safety and the fundamental right of workers to be treated with dignity and respect. The main body of the stainless-steel memorial will be on a corner of the Brown Building, resembling a ribbon that descends from the 9th floor where most deaths occurred. It will evoke the appearance of mourning ribbons draped on buildings in times of public grief.

Twelve feet above the sidewalk, the memorial will split horizontally to flank the building’s facades, where the names and ages of the victims will be stenciled into the ribbon and appear in a reflective panel that runs below it.

ASSP contributed $32,519.11 to the memorial’s construction, stringing together the seven digits of the fire’s date (3/25/1911) to emphasize the significant moment in U.S. history. The ASSP Foundation donated an additional $25,000 to the project. The coalition expects to hold a dedication ceremony at the site this fall.

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