RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- The North Carolina State AFL-CIO, the largest association of local and union councils in the state, organized a Workers' Memorial Day event at North Carolina's State Capitol on Friday.
Family members held up signs with the pictures and names of loved ones who died on the job. A bell rang for each of the 150 people who passed away while working in the state in 2015.
The victims lost their lives unexpectedly, with causes ranging from a scaffolding collapse in downtown Raleigh to an industrial accident in Goldsboro.
"I think it's important just to remember these men," said Shara Anderson, whose husband Daniel Craig died in a 2015 tank accident in Goldsboro.
Craig, an assembler for SPX Transformer Solutions, died at the age of 33.
"I think we can all get behind workplace safety and making sure that the events that caused this accident don't happen again," Shara Anderson said. "It was something that was totally preventable."
The NC State AFL-CIO is calling on the NC Department of Labor to do more to prevent workplace deaths, such as more employer education, inspectors and steeper fines for repeat and serious violations.
Jason Tyson, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Labor, said in a statement:
"The Department of Labor develops partnerships and alliances with both private and public sector entities to reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities. In addition, offering safety education training and technical assistance to reduce injuries, illnesses and fatalities is a primary goal and function of our department."
The NC State AFL-CIO said labor commissioner Cherie Berry declined to attend the event and they are asking people to sign a petition inviting her to attend next year's event. Tyson said Berry couldn't make it because she's celebrating worker safety achievements in Charlotte.