According to the General Secretary of the union Unite, the real number of work-related deaths last year is eight times the official figure. Len McCluskey made the remarks as a report was published in time for Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28th.
The aim of Workers’ Memorial Day is to raise awareness of the preventable nature of many workplace incidents and of any campaigns to reduce the risk of accident or illness in the workplace. This year, unions were firmly focussed on the coalition government’s apparent intention to reduce health and safety regulations as well as employers’ responsibility.
The fear expressed by the unions is that this could have catastrophic consequences on workplace safety. They also claim that official figures are not a true reflection of the current situation in the UK, but that they enable the Government to argue the case for relaxing certain rules.
Workers’ Memorial Day has offered the unions the perfect platform to voice their concerns, as communities remember colleagues, friends and family who have died from a work-related accident or illness. The devastating effects of such an accident should never be underestimated; health and safety training provides the skills and knowledge necessary to protect lives.