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Workplace safety improvements demanded on Workers' Memorial Day
Events, demonstrations and vigils will be held the world over tomorrow (28 April) to mark Workers’ Memorial Day and honour those who have lost their lives through their work.
Bridget Collier, head of the Industrial Disease department at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the international event is hugely important in helping to raise awareness of the still shocking number of workers who die each year as a result of an occupational illness or accident in the workplace, and demand that improvements are made to curb the number injuries and loss of life.
“The message of Workers’ Memorial Day is very clear,” said Bridget, a partner with the firm. “Every year, thousands of people in the UK die from an illness or injury caused directly by their work, simply because at some point their employer did not prioritise ensuring the safety and wellbeing of their workers. On Saturday 28 April, workers and their representatives around the world will come together to mark the day, commemorating their colleagues and demanding further action to improve safety at work.”
The day is often described as a “rallying cry to ‘remember the dead and fight for the living’,” and is aimed at preventing others from losing their lives or their loved ones in incidents which could and should have been prevented.
“According to TUC figures the number of prosecutions where employers have been found to be failing on health and safety in the workplace have fallen by 50% in the last 10 years,” said Bridget. “That in itself might sound like excellent progress – until you see that it corresponds directly with a 50% fall in the number of safety inspections carried out during the same period,” she said.
“Employers have a duty to take all necessary measures to educate and protect their staff from the any dangers they may face at work,” said Bridget. “Failure to do so is an egregious breach of care and responsibility, and we should be increasing the number of safety checks to prevent these from happening, not halving them.
“By supporting Workers’ Memorial Day, we hope to highlight the need for continued improvements to workplace safety, ensuring justice for those who have already lost their lives or their loved ones through no fault of their own, and protecting current and future workforce from suffering the same fates.”
Read more at: TUC
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