Once every three or four days an Indiana man or woman loses his or her life on the job somewhere in the state. An annual event held Monday honored those who lost their lives in 2011.
"The numbers have been going down every year but we're chasing zero and nothing short of zero is acceptable," said Governor Mitch Daniels.
Each year, the Workers' Memorial Day ceremony honors Hoosiers killed on the job. A memorial at West Street and Robert Orr Plaza on Government Center North grounds honors their memories.
"We didn't even know this was here," said Kirk Weger as he gazed on the memorial topped with small statues of three working men.
Weger's son, Daniel, died in a Terre Haute accident in January of 2011.
"It was just an accident," said his father. "They were rolling a truck out, a disabled truck, he was at the back. Whether his feet slipped, I don't know but it came right over him.
"We have no blame towards anybody," said Daniel's mother Glenda Rowley. "Just sadness."
Statistically, Indiana is a safer place to work than 30 years ago when the Indiana Department of Labor reported 11.7 out of every 100 workers was injured on the job. Last year, that number fell to 4.3 out of 100.
"We've had two consecutive years at 4.3," said Indiana Labor Commissioner Lori Torres. "It's the lowest it's ever been and so in fact we've had fewer deaths last year. We're still trying to get zero on those injuries."
Nancy Guyott of the AFL/CIO said some of those improvements are due to a less industrialized economy but the state should do more.
"If you compare the number of inspectors and the length of an inspection for a workplace, the number of workplaces in Indiana, at our current staffing level, it would take 110 years to get to every workplace and get it inspected just once and most people would tell you that once is not enough."
Torres said 40 of the 50 employees in the labor department's IOSHA division are inspectors and that a new inspector will be coming on next week as the overall department budget remains consistent.
Guyott fears now that Indiana has become a right-to-work state, unions will have less clout to monitor workplace safety of companies moving here because of cheaper costs.
"The evidence is in the states that have lived in a right-to-work regime for some period of time that workers are 50 percent more likely to die at work than in states that have not enacted that law."
Governor Daniels disagreed.
"Right-to-work states are just as safe as this one, or unsafe," said Daniels.
Torres said if more companies move here, Indiana will have enough inspectors to keep them safe.
"By the time we actually have those manufacturing jobs, we will be prepared to deal with that."
At the memorial, Kirk Weger said he doesn't blame the state or his son's coworkers for Daniel's death.
"I won't fault the state. It's a terrible thing but as I told them where I work at, now is the time to find out what happened so it won't happen again."