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New memorial honours workplace deaths

world Updated: Apr 28, 2009 11:32 IST

US labour leaders are dedicating a national memorial to honour the more than 5,000 workers who lose their lives on the job each year.

The National Workers Memorial will be located on the campus of the National Labor College, just outside the nation's capital in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Labour Secretary Hilda Solis is joining union leaders on Tuesday to break ground on the memorial, which is expected to be completed by September.

William Scheuerman, president of the labour college, said the site will capture the sacrifices regular working people have made.

"We have monuments to everything else, what about the ordinary person, the person who is not a hero, goes to work one day and just doesn't come home anymore?" Scheuerman said.

The memorial's design features a circular brick plaza surrounded by granite benches and brick pavers engraved with the names of fallen workers. For USD 125, sponsors can purchase a brick engraved with the name and occupation of a worker who died on the job or from work-related injuries. Anyone can buy a brick.

Design and construction of the memorial is running about USD 450,000, with most of the money raised from unions and a large donation from Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, a lawyer who has represented workers injured by exposure to asbestos.