International Workers Memorial Day takes place each year on 28th April. It is a day to remember those whose lives have been affected by accidents and injuries suffered at work and a day to focus on improving safety at work in the future.
The theme for this year’s event is highlighting the crucial role played by trade unions in improving safety through strong regulation and effective enforcement.
At 12 noon on 28th April 2011, UNISON staff and members will take part in a minutes’ silence to remember those who have been killed or injured through work and commit to improving standards in the future.
In the midst of spending cuts and assertions of health and safety regulation going too far, the commitment for the future is perhaps even more important. The true figures of those affected by work incidents are often not highlighted. Work incidents cause up to an estimated 1,600 deaths each year. In addition to this there is an estimated 50,000 deaths from work-related illnesses or diseases including cancers, at least 5,000 of which are due to asbestos related cancers such as mesothelioma, respiratory diseases, including asbestosis and pleural thickening, and heart disease.
The HSE has previously stated that approximately 70% of workplace “accidents” are as a result of poor management of health and safety. This situation must be improved.
It is well known that given the huge legacy of asbestos use in the UK and around the world, the risks of asbestos exposure and development of asbestos-related diseases continues. Those most likely to be exposed to asbestos are those working in the building and maintenance trades. Much has already been done to control the risks posed by exposure to asbestos but the continued risk has led to the introduction of The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 which came into effect in November 2006. These regulations brought together three previous sets of Regulations covering the prohibition of asbestos, the control of asbestos at work and asbestos licensing. The Asbestos Regulations include the ‘duty to manage asbestos’ in non-domestic premises.
Despite these regulations and the increase in media attention concerning the dangers of asbestos, many continue to be unaware of the risks. Quality Solicitors Oliver & Co. are committed to raising the profile of asbestos related diseases, including mesothelioma, and the continued risks asbestos poses. If you would like to receive further information about asbestos, asbestos related diseases and the work that we do, please subscribe to our newsletter.