Solihull Memorial service to remember dead West Midlands' workers

West Midlands dead workers memorial service

29.04.2005

West Midlands' workers who have been killed or injured at work will be remembered at a wreath-laying ceremony in Solihull on Thursday 28 April.

The ceremony, which will take place at 12.30pm at Brueton Gardens, has been jointly organised by the Birmingham Trades Union Council and West Midlands Hazards Trust as part of International Workers' Memorial Day, when trade unions from all over the world will 'Remember the Dead and Fight for the Living.'

Kathy Gaffney, Learning Organiser with West Midlands Hazards Trust said: "Two million people are killed by work across the world every year. In the UK the official figure is 235 killed in incidents but up to 12,000 killed by work, which includes members of the public killed in incidents and all those who died in illness caused by work.

"On Remembrance Day we rightly honour those killed in war and on Workers Memorial Day we gather to remember those killed by work. We also want to highlight the fact that most of these deaths should have prevented - at least 70% according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - and call on employers to be accountable and take action to prevent further deaths and incidents from illness."

According to HSE statistics 23 West Midlands' workers died at work during 2003/04. The wreath-laying ceremony at Brueton Gardens will take place at a memorial erected by local Land Rover workers.

Industrial injuries expert, Alida Coates, who is a partner with Birmingham law firm Irwin Mitchell, explained: "The real figures are even more shocking than the official statistics as about 1,000 workers are killed every year on the roads while driving as part of their work yet they are not recorded as workplace deaths. Additionally, many thousands more people die, sometimes years later, from the illnesses they developed from inhaling asbestos and other cancer causing chemicals, or of asthmas or heart and circulatory disease.

"Safe work is a human right not a privilege. Although there are a number of legislations in place designed to protect employees in the workplace, sadly many employers ignore their duties and continue to flout the law."

The theme for this year's International Workers' Memorial Day is Corporate Accountability. A public Meeting has been organised by West Midlands Hazard Trust to discuss how companies can be held accountable for deaths and ill health in the workplace. The meeting will take place at 11.30am on Saturday 7 May 2005 at Irwin Mitchell, 31 Temple Street, Birmingham and whilst admission is free, places should be reserved by contacting Lee Taylor at Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100.