The state of Missouri paid tribute Monday to those who died while on the job last year.
117 people died at work in 2011, including several in Joplin who were on the clock when the F-5 tornado ripped through the city. Department of Labor chief Larry Rebman recalled the actions of Christopher Lucas, who was the manager on duty at a Joplin Pizza Hut. Lucas had his employees and customer seek shelter in the kitchen’s walk-in freezer:
“Once the tornado hit, the freezer door would not stay shut…Christopher grabbed a bungee cord, wrapped one end around the door handle and wrapped the other around himself…he lost his life, but because of his sacrifice, 15 people lived to tell his tale.”
Family members of workers killed on the job were also recognized during the ceremony. Redman also credited the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, or OSHA for reducing workplace deaths by one-third of what they were 40 years ago.