Tuesday 28th April 2015 will see International Workers Memorial Day being commemorated. The theme for this year’s annual event is “removing exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace”. This is with the intention of highlighting chemical-related hazards, asbestos, the Ebola virus and other potentially hazardous biological exposures.
Statistics show that every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Their deaths, estimated at 2.3 million a year worldwide, are as a result of their employers failing to take proper care for their safety and the Memorial Day seeks to remember these workers and raise awareness of the ongoing problems workers still face. It is an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.
In the UK in 2013/14 the Health and Safety Executive provisionally reported that 133 workplace deaths occurred however this excludes those deaths caused by fatal diseases and those deaths caused by fatal accidents on non-rail transport systems. In terms of deaths caused by fatal diseases, this includes asbestos related diseases including mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Each year more than 2000 workers die from asbestos related mesothelioma as a result of being negligently exposed to asbestos during their employment. Overall the HSE states that approximately 13,000 deaths from occupational lung disease and cancer are estimated to have been caused by past exposure to chemicals, dusts and other substances.
Workers’ Memorial Day takes place every year around the world. The slogan for the day is “Remember the dead – fight for the living”. It was started by the Canadian Union of Public Employees in 1984 and for years events have been organised all over the world. In 1992, the late Hazards campaigner Tommy Harte brought the day to the UK. It has been championed by the Hazards Campaign and taken up by the trade unions.
At Asbestos Justice we strive to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos as well as assisting those who have been affected by asbestos disease. As the figures above show every effort must be made to improve the health and safety of workers and we hope that you will join us in sharing this article.
An event is taking place on 28th April 2015 at the South Piazza of Georges Dock Building at Pier Head, Liverpool. Speakers will include representatives from local Trade Unions, Asbestos campaigners and Solicitors. As well as hearing from the speakers there will be a wreath laying ceremony.
For more information, contact the Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group on 0151 236 1895.