‘Dangerous substances – get them out of the workplace’, is the theme of this year’s Workers’ Memorial Day, Unite the Union said as it called for improved enforcement of safety legislation.
In a statement setting out the importance of Workers Memorial Day, Unite said that every year thousands of workers are made ill by hazardous substances, contracting lung disease such as asthma, cancer and skin disease such as dermatitis.
These diseases cost many millions of pounds each year to industry, society and individuals and their families.
Under current legislation employer, are responsible for taking effective control measures to protect the health of their employees’.
“Governments have the all-important role of ensuring that such protection to workers is considered within an effective legislative framework as well as providing appropriate enforcement and guidance to industry,” the union said.
Additionally, Unite said, employees and unions have the obligation to co-operate both with governments and industry to ensure that principles of control are adhered to in an effort to reduce the suffering and hardship caused by ill-health and accidents.
Accidents and ill-health at work carry a price tag, in the UK there are still over 555, 000 workplace injuries every year as well as 1.4 million cases of ill health caused or made worse by work conditions.
In 2017/18 a combined total, of 30.7 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury.
“The truth is that all this money could be better spend in investing in the training of the future generations as well as improving the quality of the retirement of the current generation.”
Unite aid it draws clear conclusions: “Let’s stem the flow of accident, let’s make occupational ill-health something of the past.”
“In essence let’s remember the dead, let’s make their sacrifice count towards improvement and above all let’s work in partnership with Governments and employers for an accident free future.”
Workers’ Memorial Day is dedicated to those who are no longer with us, as well as those who daily endure the pain and suffering resulting from a workplace accident, Unite explained.
“However, even more importantly it is also necessary to remember that Workers’ Memorial Day is the day for re-vindicating safer working conditions, improved enforcement of safety legislation where strict health and safety laws apply to all, for the enhancement of training standards and safe method of work, in order to reduce workplace injuries and fatalities.”
“When someone is injured at work or even more tragically dies whilst trying to put food on the table for his family, this is inevitably termed as an “accident” which brings to mind connotations of unavoidable, circumstantial and an ill-fated event.”
“In reality the vast majority of accidents are avoidable through consistent safe procedures, accidents are rarely born out of a single isolated events but rather the alignment of a series of sub-standards practices and conditions which cumulating in injury and loss of life; where luck and fate should never be relied upon as a means of prevention.”
“The majority of accidents are the result of lack of employers’ control on the process, unsafe underlying causes coupled with unsafe acts/conditions endured by the employees.”
This “unholy” trinity will always result in injury, loss and suffering, Unite said.