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Specialist Lawyers Mark Workers' Memorial Day By Continuing Campaign To Improve Health And Safety

HSE Figures Show Nearly 4,500 People In North West Killed By Asbestos Cancer


Emma Bolton, Press Officer | +44 (0)114 294 7843

Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office are marking International Workers’ Memorial Day by continuing their fight for justice for those killed as a result of poor working conditions.

The national law firm continues to support the annual event, a day to “remember the dead; fight for the living”, taking place on Sunday, 28 April. This year’s theme is entitled “dangerous substances – get them out of the workplace” and will focus mainly on carcinogens such as asbestos.

Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have revealed that a total of 4,497 people in North West England died from mesothelioma – a type of terminal cancer linked to asbestos which often develops decades after exposure – between 1981 and 2015.  Of these, 676 were women.

The statistics show that during this time period, 2,067 mesothelioma deaths were recorded in Greater Manchester alone, with the highest death rate among the various local authorities being Wigan with 287.  In Lancashire, 968 people died which included 133 in Wyre, while 1,462 deaths from mesothelioma were recorded in Merseyside, including Wirral with a figure of 501.

Expert Opinion
“These figures highlight the sad reality that we see day to day in our work.

People are dying due to asbestos exposure in their past, with the majority of those exposed at work while completely unaware of the dangers of this hazardous substance.

International Workers’ Memorial Day is an important time to honour the memory of those who have died, not only from asbestos-related disease, but also as a result of inadequate health and safety practices.

This issue is crucially important to protect employers and employees and is one we will continue to campaign on.”
Katrina London, Senior Associate Solicitor

The latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics have revealed that around 2,500 people die from mesothelioma each year in the UK. 

The HSE figures also show that 144 workers were killed at work in 2017/18, with many of the deaths caused by falls, and 1.4million working people are suffering from a work-related illness.

In addition, the latest statistics found that 555,000 injuries occurred at work, with 71,062 injuries to employees reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences (RIDDOR), and the cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions estimated £15billion in 2016/17.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is co-ordinating nationwide events to mark this year’s Workers’ Memorial Day, which will also focus on the dangers of diesel exhaust in the workplace, and illnesses such as asthma or dermatitis.  Meanwhile, workers and their representatives from all around the world are due to hold commemorations and activities, with some expected to take place on the Friday, Saturday or Monday surrounding the occasion.

 Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling asbestos-related disease cases