Did you know over 20,000 people in Britain die every year because of their work? What’s even more shocking is that the vast majority of these deaths are entirely preventable. Every working person deserves a safe and healthy environment in which to do their job. But complacency about health and safety continues to be deadly.
Far from being ‘political correctness gone mad’ (as so lazily characterised by certain sections of the media), health and safety at work remains a matter of life-and-death. Most people die as a result of work because their employer decided their safety just wasn’t enough of a priority. And that’s why the TUC believes government moves to de-regulate health and safety and trust employers to regulate themselves will cause more deaths and injury.
Instead of this free-for-all in health and safety culture, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady is calling for “stronger regulation and more importantly, proper enforcement.”
Today, as every year on 28 April, we’re marking International Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have died doing their job, and this year’s theme is ‘removing exposure to hazardous substances’, an issue that affects many of us:
- 71% of UK workers report being at risk from potentially dangerous substances at work.*
- Asbestos alone is responsible for 5,000 UK deaths every year.
O’Grady says: “In the UK, trade union health and safety representatives will [today] consider what can be done to stop unnecessary deaths, injuries and illness. We need employers and governments to do more too.”
And here's how you can do your bit! All over the world, workers and their representatives are holding demonstrations, vigils and a whole host of other activities to mark the day. There’s plenty going on in the UK too. Find out what’s happening near you and get involved.
*TUC survey of 533 UK workers.