It wasn't the steady, light rain that extinguished the seven flickering candles at York City's Kiwanis Lake on Monday.
Rather, it was the light breath from family and friends of seven workers who died last year in York and Adams counties. As the name of each of the perished was read out during the York-Adams Central Labor Council AFL-CIO's 25th annual Workers' Memorial Day Observance, a family member or friend approached and, in a quick instant, blew out a candle.
One of those candles shone in honor of former Loganville Fire Chief Rodney Miller, who, at age 45, was killed a year ago while directing traffic at the scene of a crash on Interstate 83 in Springfield Township.
His parents, Paul and Elaine Miller, called it an honor for their son to be included in the yearly service.
"It's a fitting honor to a man who gave so much to the community," Paul Miller said.
Yearly event: The service is held every year on the anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
The OSHA legislation is designed to protect workers, but nearly 4 million people suffer severe workplace injuries every year. And every day in the U.S., 13 people go to work and never come home, according to statistics from the OSHA's Harrisburg office.
"Every worker has the right to go home safe at the end of their shift," said York County Coroner Pam Gay, the keynote speaker.
About 4,000 U.S. workers were killed on the job last year, according to OSHA.
Seven were killed in York County last year, the highest since 2011, when seven workers were also killed in the line of work.
The goal is always to decrease that number to zero, Alan Vandersloot, AFL-CIO labor liaison for the United Way of York County, said after the service.
Toll: The workers' deaths not only leave a void for surviving loved ones but can also plunge their families into uncertainty.
A family can fall into debt without the income the worker had made, and that could lead to losing their home, Gay said.
As a registered nurse for more than 30 years and coroner for four months, Gay said notifying a family of a death remains the hardest part of her job.
The coroner's office recently started a program in which officials follow up with the families of those who died, in work-related incidents or otherwise, and direct them to resources.
"We are helping to ease a small fraction of the pain the family is suffering," she said.
— Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.