Friday, 9 May 2014

Remembering those who die in the workplace

Local MP Katy Clark last week marked International Workers’ Memorial Day by calling for a government that actually protects workers.

Workers’ Memorial Day is held on the 28th April every year to commemorate those who have died as a result of accidents at work or diseases contracted in the workplace. Ms Clark hosted an event in the House of Commons to discuss the key health and safety issues currently facing workers in the UK and the rest of the world.

The Labour MP said, “Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. While we may tend to imagine this as a problem predominantly affecting the developing world, the sad truth is that in the United Kingdom far too many deaths occur due to workplace activities.

“Each year the Health and Safety Executive publish figures for the number of people killed in accidents at work. In 2012/13 the number was 148, one of the lowest ever, but this figure does not represent reality. Instead, if you include those who die from occupational cancers, other lung disorders and cardiovascular disease caused by work, and people killed on the roads while working, the Trades Union Congress estimates this figure could be more than 20,000.”

Ms Clark says that, despite such evidence, the UK Tory-Lib Dem Government has reduced the Health & Safety Executive’s budget by £80m-£85m every year since coming to power in 2010. “That’s a cut of 35 per cent in the state contribution,” said the MP for North Ayrshire & Arran, adding, “Compensation has been cut and the Prime Minister has publically stated that he will ‘kill off the health and safety culture for good’. We need to remember that every time we hear ‘health and safety’ being mocked, it plays into the hands of those who want to weaken regulations and diminish the hard-fought-for rights of workers.”

Katy Clark said, “We need a government that is committed to protecting workers. This Workers’ Memorial Day we need to remember the dead but also fight for the living and for those workers from around the world who put their lives on the line every day.”

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