Well, the Government has announced the UK will “officially recognise” Workers Memorial Day on 28 April to commemorate thousands of people who have died, been seriously injured or made ill through their work – but it stopped short of creating a new bank holiday… at least for now.
Work and Pensions Secretary of State Yvette Cooper said:
“I’m delighted to announce that the UK will officially recognise Workers Memorial Day. This is a tribute to all those who have campaigned long and hard, including bereaved families, trade unions, campaign groups, and many other organisations and individuals.
“For the first time, the UK will join countries across the globe in remembrance of all those killed at work and for the families they have left behind, and the many more who have been harmed. It is also a spur to greater efforts to improve health and safety for today’s and tomorrow’s working population.”
Meanwhile, Alan Ritchie, General Secretary of construction union UCATT, said:
“The Government’s decision to formally recognise Workers Memorial Day is an important first step in the campaign to establish Workers Memorial Day as a bank holiday, in order to ensure that all workers have an opportunity to remember their friends and colleagues who have been killed or injured at work.”
While the UK now has one of the best health and safety records in the world, official figures show that 180 people were killed at work last year and over 27,000 suffered major injury. And around 8,000 each year die from occupational cancers and lung diseases.
There have been an increasing number of commemorative events in the UK in recent years as Workers Memorial Day has become a focal point for bereaved families, unions, campaign organisations and local authorities among others. As more people have become involved in these events, there has been growing support for formal recognition of the Day.
About Workers Memorial Day
Workers Memorial Day originated in Canada in 1984. The day is now recognised as a national day in 19 other countries.
28 April was chosen because it is the anniversary of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in the USA and also commemorates the day that 28 people were killed in a construction accident in Connecticut.
** Additional information & advice **
If you think you’ve been a victim of unsafe working practices, you may want to speak with a solicitor. You can find a solicitor in your area for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.
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