April 28 Is Internationally Recognised As Workers’ Memorial Day To Remember Those Killed Through Work
Serious injury and specialist workplace lawyers at national law firm Irwin Mitchell are calling for more awareness of workplace safety on International Workers’ Memorial Day as they continue to fight for justice for those who lost their lives due to poor working conditions.
The latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics for 2016/17 state that 137 workers were killed at work and in addition to this, 1.3 million working people are suffering from a work-related illness.
Workers’ Memorial Day is a day to ‘remember the dead and to fight for the living’ by paying respects to those who have died as a result of their employment, and continuing to improve health and safety standards in the workplace.
Within the last year alone, lives continue to have been lost and serious injuries caused in workplace incidents across the country. The HSE figures estimate that beyond the 137 workplace deaths, there were 609,000 injuries that occurred at work including people falling from a height, to being hit by a moving object.
This year’s day of remembrance will focus on the huge difference that unions make in preventing deaths in the workplace and will also be celebrating 40 years of union health and safety representatives, according to the Trades Union Congress.
Stephen Nye, a partner and national head of workplace injuries at Irwin Mitchell, who has represented families who have lost loved ones as a result of accidents at work, said:
Expert Opinion“On this Workers’ Memorial Day, we will continue to call for improvements to safety standards in the workplace and will continue to do so until companies stop putting the lives of their workers at risk. It should be fundamental that employees should be able to go to and from work every day without facing risk of injury or death.
“We are fighting for greater levels of protection all year round but Workers’ Memorial Day is a day to reflect and remember those who have tragically lost their lives due to their employment.” Stephen Nye - Partner
The latest HSE figures also showed that the number of deaths in the UK linked to the asbestos stood at more than 3,000, with the vast majority being caused by mesothelioma, a incurable form of cancer. This is caused by exposure to asbestos, often occurring at work, decades before symptoms begin to show.
Adrian Budgen, an expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said:
Expert Opinion“We are regularly contacted by people who have become ill because of the failings in their employer’s commitment to health and safety in the workplace, or by bereaved relatives who have lost a loved one at work whose lives have been devastated as a result.
“The issue of health and safety in the workplace is a crucially important one for both employers and employees. Good health and safety practices are good for business but the issue of workplace health and safety has to be given very serious consideration by all interested parties.” Adrian Budgen - Partner
Looking ahead to next year’s Workers’ Memorial Day, Stephen Nye added:
Expert Opinion“Next year, the day will fall less than a month after our proposed exit from the European Union.
“Whilst great uncertainty remains about the implications of Brexit, the government should guarantee that the standard of health and safety protection afforded under current EU law is not in any way reduced once we are outside the EU.
“At Irwin Mitchell we have previously called for a move away from inaccurate, irresponsible ‘health and safety gone mad’ stories before and we repeat that call today. Attention should also be given to addressing the problem of unscrupulous employers failing to comply with the legal requirement to take out employer’s liability insurance.” Stephen Nye - Partner