Improved Health And Safety Urged

Workers Memorial Day

29.04.2008

Improvements to health and safety at work have been demanded by unions amid claims that the UK faces an "epidemic" of occupational ill health.

Workers Memorial Day is being marked across Britain with a series of events, including a GMB protest outside Parliament to highlight the "growing problem" of attacks on minicab drivers.

The union wants CCTV cameras and protective shields to be installed in minicabs after 49 violent attacks on drivers in the first three months of the year.

The TUC has published a new guide for union reps which covers all aspects of occupational health, and it is hoped the reps will use it to encourage employers to work harder to make employees feel they are getting a decent level of support when they are ill or recovering from illness.

The TUC said 175 million working days were lost as a result of sickness absence last year, costing firms £650 per sick worker.

David Urpeth Head of Workplace Accidents team at Irwin Mitchell said: "Despite Health and Safety legislation, there is still an unacceptably high level of injuries and deaths caused by work accidents and industrial disease.

"Today is an opportunity for those fighting for workplace safety to remember those who have either lost their lives or been injured through doing nothing more than going to work.

"I would urge employers to pay greater regard to employees Health and Safety and for the HSE to enforce more breaches of Health and Safety legislation.

"Sadly, at Irwin Mitchell we represent many people who have been injured or killed either by industrial accidents or industrial disease."