International Workers’ Memorial Day takes place across the world on the 28th April annually and in 2019 at least 21 commemorations will take place in Scotland. The day provides a focus for us all to remember those who have been killed at work, to provide support and comfort to their families and to commit to striving for healthier, safer and fairer work for all helping to ensure workers are not denied the basic human right of returning home to loved ones after their day’s work is done.
Sadly far too often that does not happen and around 12 Scottish workers have their lives cut short every day as a result of work, either through fatal injuries at work, occupational disease, work related road traffic accidents or suicides connected to the person’s work.
Scottish Hazards believes health and safety is at a crossroads, our regulators, the HSE and Local Authorities have seen their resources cut back, there have been consistent attacks on health and safety regulation even before Brexit and the Government is increasingly interfering with the work of the regulators, dictating where and how often they can carry out enforcement visits to such an extent that proactive inspections by local authority Environmental Health Officers are to all intents and purposes a thing of the past.
Analysis carried out by SHP Online of fatal injuries investigated by the HSE in 2018/19 show that workers in Scotland are 1.4 times as likely to be killed at work compared to those in England, almost double the rate of some of the English regions and that does not include deaths investigated by other regulators.
Our own analysis of figures for HSE investigated fatalities for 2018/19 in Scotland show a marked increase in the number of workers killed in incidents at work. Some of these will not show in the HSE figures when they are published as they are investigated by other regulators, or in one case will not be counted because the worker was killed when his articulated lorry blew over in a severe gale.
This year’s theme for the day is removing toxic chemicals from our workplaces and sadly, given reduced enforcement, it will be up to trade unions, the hazards movement and health and safety activists to campaign to make our workplaces toxin free.
On the 28th April help us to kick start the campaign to prevent workers being poisoned at work but also join with us helping and supporting families of workers who have died through work; #FamiliesDeserveJustice.
Download the posters by clicking on the images, print them out and put them up in your work place or better still find out what is happening in your area and go along.