Simpson Millar Supports Workers’ Memorial Day

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Amy Baker

Graduate Solicitor Apprentice

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Every year, Workers’ Memorial Day brings together workers, their families and workplace unions to recognise and remember colleagues who have been killed, seriously injured or have become ill while at work.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty to create and maintain a safe working environment for their employees. But sadly, we continue to see people being injured or killed as a result of workplace accidents.

As expert Serious Injury Lawyers, we see first-hand the impact of employer negligence on our clients who have been involved in a preventable accidents at work. Put simply, the effects of these accidents on the individuals affected can be devastating or even fatal.

In this article, we’ll talk about why Workers’ Memorial Day and other events like it are so important. Read on to find out more or get in touch with our expert Serious Injury Lawyers on 0808 239 3227 if you’d like some initial advice about a workplace injury.

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What Is Workers Memorial Day?

Workers Memorial Day is an event which takes place every year on 28 April to honour and to pay our respects to those who have been needlessly lost or injured through accidents in the workplace.

This day of remembrance is now an international memorial, recognised by workers, their families and workplace unions throughout the world. The origins of International Workers Day can be traced back to 1984 in Canada where the Conventions of Canadian Labour Congress agreed that this date would be known as the National Day of Mourning to honour those who had been injured, killed and disabled at work or those who suffered from occupational diseases. Today, the day is recognised in dozens of countries across the world, including the UK who officially recognised this in 2010.

To commemorate this day of remembrance, events are held by trade unions and organisations across the UK. A one-minute silence is held at 12pm during meetings and vigils, both in person and online and awareness is spread through various social media channels. Every year Workers Memorial Day has a different theme to highlight the various different aspects of health and safety at work and the issues surrounding this.

Why is Workplace Safety Awareness so Important?

As well as being a day of remembrance, Workers’ Memorial Day aims to encourage better safety regulations in workplaces around the world by raising awareness of the issues that are still continuing to put many employees at risk.

With the advances that have been made in workplace safety over recent years, it would be easy to assume that serious injuries and fatalities at work are largely a problem of the past. But unfortunately, we still see certain industries and sectors that continue to experience high numbers of employee injuries and deaths, some of the main ones being:

  • construction
  • agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • manufacturing
  • transportation and storage

The latest statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that sadly 135 workers were killed in work related accidents in the years 2022 and 2023 in Great Britain alone. That’s 135 people who went to work and never came home because of an entirely preventable accident in their place of work. Of those 135 individuals, it appears that those aged between the years of 16 and 59 were disproportionately affected, making up a total of 99 individuals out of 135, just further highlighting that each workplace related death which occurs ends the lives of those affected prematurely.

Although these recent statistics do show a decrease in the amount of fatal accidents at work which have occurred, it simply will not be enough until fatal accidents in the workplace are as low as they possibly can be. In an ideal world, these would not exist at all. The statistics show that between the years of 2020 to 2021, a total of 142 deaths were reported as workplace related fatalities showing that some small progress has been made with 7 less people dying from a work-related accident in recent years.

Of those fatalities reported in the years 2022 to 2023, the statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that the main cause of these fatalities involved a fall from a height with 40 of the 135 fatalities being caused in this way. Being struck by a moving object and being struck by a moving vehicle follow closely behind with 29 fatalities being caused by being struck by a moving object and 20 of them being as a direct result of being struck by a moving vehicle. Again, this only highlights how easily accidents of this nature could be prevented and how lives could have been saved.

Sadly, very little has changed in this regard as the cause for workplace injuries which have resulted in death have remained largely the same over the last few years. Falls from a height continue to be the main cause of workplace fatalities, as shown above, which is little change from previous years where they accounted for 25 percent of work related deaths in 2020/21. In previous years, some other causes of accidents resulting in fatalities included:

  • being struck by a moving vehicle
  • being hit by a moving object
  • becoming trapped by something collapsing
  • contact with moving machinery
  • electrocution

Given that there has been little change in the causes of accidents which have resulted in death in the workplace, it is clear that more needs to be done to reduce the amount of preventable deaths in the workplace here in the UK. Knowing the main causes of these injuries should help employers to put measures in place to prevent avoidable accidents, as they’re expected to do under the Health and Safety at Work Act. But employer negligence often means that workplace safety regulations remain unsatisfactory, highlighting the need for continued awareness.

Why Does Negligence at Work Happen?

Such negligence can arise for a number of different reasons and often depends on the specific workplace involved, however some of the most common reasons for employer negligence we see here at Simpson Millar include budget constraints, time pressures and deadlines.

Often we see that employers will have a set budget to have various tasks or projects to be completed within which can often lead to insufficient health and safety precautions being taken. This could be a wide range of things which can include anything from poor equipment being provided, a lack of equipment being provided or even a lack of employees being hired. This can result in defective equipment which can then injure an employee or an employee being required to carry out a task without the necessary protection or equipment that they need, putting them at unnecessary risk

In the event that there are an insufficient number of employees who have been hired to complete a project or job, those employees who are left are often required to undertake tasks on their own which really ought to be undertaken by at least more than one person to reduce the risk of injury arising from the task in hand.

Additionally, it may be that an employer has signed a contract with another company which commits them to delivering a project for that company by a certain date or within a certain timeframe. In turn, the pressure of this deadline is often passed down from those at the head of the company to the employees actually carrying out the tasks to complete the project in time. Such a pressure can lead to some shortcuts being taken which may compromise both the quality of the work being carried out as well as the health and safety of the employees involved in the project. It may be that instead of 2 employees carrying out a task safely, they are instructed by their supervisor or management to carry it out individually to reduce the amount of time and resources taken to complete the task. This is just one of the examples of the shortcuts that we hear about employers taking on a daily basis.

One of the solicitors in our Employer’s Liability (Serious Injury) Team commented on the current situation concerning health and safety in the workplace within the UK below:

“There is still much work to do to raise safety standards in these industries. Sadly, far too often we see cases where worker safety has been compromised as a result of cutting corners and the pressures and demands to complete work. Worker safety is not optional. Nobody should ever be put at risk of death or injury to hit deadlines or budgeting considerations.”

If you have suffered an accident at work that wasn’t your fault which has resulted in any kind of injury, you may be entitled to make a claim against your employer for compensation. Here at Simpson Millar, we can help by providing you with a completely free claims assessment to give you advice on your prospects of success in obtaining compensation.

Call our friendly expert team today on 0808 258 3743 orrequest a call back from one of our team.


(2023). ‘International Workers' Memorial Day’. Retrieved from (Accessed: 02/12/2023)

(2023). ‘How you can take part’. Retrieved from (Accessed: 02/12/2023)

Croner-i. (2016). ‘International Workers' Memorial Day’. Retrieved from (Accessed: 02/12/2023)

Unite the Union. (2023). ‘Workers' Memorial Day’. Retrieved from (Accessed: 02/12/2023)

(2023). ‘International Workers' Memorial Day’. Retrieved from (Accessed: 02/12/2023)

(2023). ‘Fatal injuries in the workplace’. Retrieved from (Accessed: 02/12/2023)

Amy Baker

Graduate Solicitor Apprentice

Amy is a Graduate Solicitor Apprentice within our Personal injury department, based in our Manchester office.

She helps clients who have sustained injuries resulting from accidents at work and accidents in public places to recover compensation for the injuries they have sustained.

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