On 28 April every year, all over the world workers and their representatives conduct events, demonstrations, vigils and activities to mark the Workers’ Memorial Day.
The motto of the day is ‘remember the dead: fight for the living’. It is the chance to remember those that die at work—more than those that die in wars each year—and to galvanise our efforts to ensure work is safe and the penalties for breaching health and safety laws are severe.
According to the International Labour Organisation across the world every year:
- One worker dies every 15 seconds worldwide.
- 6,000 workers die every day.
- More than two million men and women die as a result of work-related accidents and diseases
- Workers suffer approximately 270 million accidents each year, and fall victim to some 160 million incidents of work-related illnesses
- Hazardous substances kill 440,000 workers annually – asbestos claims 100,000 lives.
Join the conversation online using #IWMD19.
The theme for 2019 was dangerous substances — get them out of the workplace.
Trade unions and workers gathered at the Workers’ Memorial Tree in West Princes Street Gardens.
The theme of dangerous substances relates to the demands of our current Fight for 5 campaign for cleaners in the council:
- Safe and effective cleaning materials
- Proper health & safety training
- An end to the abuse of split-shift allowance
- No more delays in overtime – no more unpaid holidays
- Stop the exploitation of temps/agency – directly employ more staff.
Adequate cleaning materials are not always being provided to cleaners in schools, leaving cleaners to provide their own, causing concerns for the health and safety of staff and pupils alike. Cleaners have also reported being asked to operate machinery without adequate training.
Read more on our campaign to fight the cleaning crisis in Edinburgh schools.
Michael Adamson was a Scottish electrician electrocuted at work in 2005 in an incident that could and should have been prevented. His story is a stark and harrowing reminder of the importance of health and safety at work and the responsibilities of employers to embed safe working practices.
Visit michaels-story.net or watch Louise, Michael’s sister, tell his story in the video below.
Pat was a Clydeside shipyard worker who died of mesothelioma in 1993 after over 20 years of exposure to asbestos-containing materials.
His case help change a part of Scots Law that meant claims for pain and suffering died with the person, now allowing families to seek compensation when their loved ones die at work.
Read James Kelman’s ‘Scottish Law and a victim of asbestos’ from his excellent book of essays …And the Judges Said for Pat’s story.
Pawel was a machine operator, husband and father to a 5-year old daughter who was crushed to death while working in a quarry in the Highlands in 2017.
The HSE are investigating the circumstances of his death.
Read Pawel’s story in the Press and Journal.