Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

New Triangle Fire Memorial in NY Pays Tribute to Lives Lost from Unsafe Working Conditions

Monday, November 6, 2023

Today’s Commissioner’s Corner blog is in tribute to the memory of the 146 workers who tragically lost their lives in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. It was prepared by staff who work on the BLS Occupational Safety and Health Statistics Program.

On October 11, 2023, Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su joined President Jim Thornton of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) and New York Governor Kathy Hochul in dedicating a memorial in New York City to honor the 146 garment workers who tragically lost their lives in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The stainless-steel memorial stands on the very spot where the fire occurred in Manhattan, NY. The central part of the memorial takes the form of a ribbon. The names and ages of the victims are stenciled into the ribbon and can be seen in a reflective panel at ground level. Patterns and textures from a 300-foot-long cloth ribbon formed from individual pieces of fabric and sewn together by volunteers are etched into the steel ribbon. When complete, the ribbon will descend from the 9th floor, where most of the victims perished.

Left: Rendering of the completed memorial’s steel ribbon with names and ages of the victims etched in it as viewed from below. Right: Rendering of the completed memorial’s steel ribbon as viewed from the side.

Rendering credit: Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire was an important impetus for early workplace safety regulations in the United States. The devastating fire swept through the tightly packed garment factory, located on the 8th, 9th, and 10th floors of the building. The 146 workers who died were trapped in a building that had just one fire escape, doors that opened in the wrong direction, few buckets of water available to combat the flames, and firefighters' ladders that fell short of reaching the upper floors. This catastrophic event brought to light the poor working conditions and lack of safety precautions surrounding this tragedy, injected fresh urgency into the labor movement, and led to the enactment of new workplace safety standards into law in the State of New York, setting a precedent for the entire nation. This enduring legacy of reforms paved the way for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to protect workers and for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to compile official statistics on work-related injuries and illnesses experienced by America's workers.

The Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities (IIF) program at BLS produces a wide range of information about workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. These data are collected and reported annually through the Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), a survey sent to private and public sector establishments each year, and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), which provides a comprehensive count of all fatal workplace injuries.

Over the last decade there were 49,744 occupational fatal injuries in the U.S. and 433 were due to fires. In 2021, the most recent year for which data are available, there were 5,190 occupational fatal injuries, with 31 of these fatal injuries due to fires.

Editor’s note: Data for this chart are available in the table below.

The Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses data for 2022 are scheduled to be released on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, at 10:00 A.M. Eastern Time and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries on Tuesday, December 19, 2023, at 10:00 A.M. Eastern Time.


Work-related fatal injuries, fires, 2012–2021
Year Fatal injuries