Workers Memorial Day – Reflecting and Moving Forward


Our teams dealing with the personal injury cases under the MOJ’s new protocols and regimes, (Emma Roberts, Jayne Moyle, Francis Hutchinson and Ebony Elliott), have been considering the impact of Health and Safety reforms across the world on the run up to Workers Memorial Day.

Workers Memorial Day

On the 28th April, it will be Workers Memorial Day in the UK. It's true that Britain has a respectable health and safety record but it's also true that more people are killed each year at work than in wars. Whilst health and safety may sometimes be the subject of jokes and tall tales, we need to be aware of corners being cut to save money. Seemingly, a price can be put on people's safety!

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), across the world:

  • Each year, more than two million men and women die as a result of work-related accidents and diseases, with Asbestos claiming 100,000 lives
  • Workers suffer approximately 270 million accidents each year, and fall victim to some 160 million incidents of work related illnesses
  • One worker dies every 15 seconds worldwide, with 6,000 workers dying every day

'Labor' Day is a national holiday in the USA, yet neither Workers Memorial Day, or any other similar day receives the same status in the UK. Therefore, any acknowledgement of this event will help. All throughout the world on this day, there are a variety of events held in order to raise awareness for Workers Memorial Day, such as vigils, demonstrations, and events. A purple ribbon is commonly worn in commemoration.

The union, UNITE are inviting people to 'Take a #HealthandSelfie', which involves taking a photograph holding a piece of card with your choice of slogan on it. Slogans encouraged to be used include "I'd rather be wrapped in red tape than bloody bandages" and "Safe Jobs Save Lives".

Decades of struggle by workers and their unions have resulted in significant improvements in working conditions. But progress is threatened as employers seek to cut corners and shirk responsibility. Not too long ago, those who stood up for workers rights and health and safety in the construction industry found themselves blacklisted, unable to find jobs. Their legal battle is still ongoing.

Simpson Millar LLP has a history of working with Trade Unions and their members that spans well over a century. As a firm we are sponsoring the CWU Conference 2014 - Health & Safety Fringe Meeting, which takes place on Tuesday 29th April 2014. Nigel Bryson OBE BSc CFIOSH, former GMB National Health, Safety and Environment Officer and former BFAWU National Health and Safety Officer will be the guest speaker this year. Nigel is also author of the book book "Zero Harm: Worker involvement – the missing piece", we continue to recognise the importance and necessity of a balanced structure of health and safety in the workplace.

News Archive

Get In Touch