UK To Officially Recognise Workers Memorial Day
A leading lawyer says UK Government plans to officially acknowledge Workers Memorial Day will give ‘overdue recognition’ to the thousands who die each year as a result of work-related accidents or illness.
The UK will now join other countries in officially recognising the awareness-raising day, to be held this year on April 28th, which pays tribute to those killed, disabled, injured or made unwell while at work.
The latest Health and Safety Executive figures show there were 26 fatalities among Scottish workers in 2008-9, and a further 2,666 serious injuries. In Scotland, 3,860 workers per 100,000 say they have an illness caused by their work, while the HSE made 143 criminal prosecutions against employers.
And Elaine Russell, partner in the Glasgow office of national law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “Nationally, our firm deals with thousands of people who have lost family members through accidents or illness, caused as a result of their work and in every case there is a heartbreaking story attached.
“Everybody has the basic right to be safe while at work – some jobs are more dangerous than others but in every case, adequate safety measures must be put into place to protect the workforce. However, the figures speak for themselves – far too many people are still being injured or made ill because of their work.
“Workers Memorial Day has been growing in stature and significance as each year passes. It helps to mark the devastating impact that work-related illness and death can cause. This official recognition is long overdue and will help raise the profile of work-related illness and death.”
Official figures show that 180 people were killed at work last year in the UK and over 27,000 suffered major injury. Around 8,000 each year die from occupational cancers and lung diseases.
Workers Memorial Day has gathered increasing support in the UK recent years and a number of organisations already mark the day with events and fundraising activities.