Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Workers memorial day: remember the dead, fight for the living

Via Unison :

Each year on 28 April, IWMD is marked around the world to Remember the dead, Fight for the living. We remember those killed, made ill, or injured by their own or someone else’s work. Their pain and suffering and that of their families deserves not to be forgotten. We also renew our commitment to, and demand once more, safe and healthy work for all.

Far too many workers and their families suffer each and every year. The figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and which make the headlines, never tell the full story.

So what is the full story? It is estimated that work incidents cause up to 1,600 deaths each year; including deaths to members of the public, work-related suicide, and road traffic accidents whilst driving for work. On top of this, it is estimated that there are up to 50,000 deaths from work-related illnesses; including cancers, respiratory illnesses, and heart disease. For more detail, see The Whole Story, in the Safety and Health Practitioner.

According to the International Labour Organisation :

Each year, more than two million women and men die as a result of work-related accidents and diseases
Workers suffer approximately 270 million occupational 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
One worker dies every 15 seconds worldwide. 6,000 workers die every day. More people die whilst at work than those fighting wars.

Behind those figures are real people whose lives,and those of their loved ones, have been lost , damaged or destroyed :

Juliet Young, a nurse who needlessly died following infection from HIV. Her employer did not have the disposable devices which would have prevented the injury that led to her infection.

Social care worker, Philip Ellison, 48, stabbed to death during a home visit. He leaves behind a wife and three children.

The family of Terence Dugdale was awarded £240,000 following the death of the father of six from mesothelioma. This was caused by his exposure to asbestos at work many years earlier.

Anthony Briars, 36, father-of-two was compensated after being blinded and badly burnt following electrocution by faulty work equipment. He now suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. Mr Amankwa, a health worker awarded £11,000 after seriously injuring his wrist on a badly maintained window. He was off work for four months. With his nerves affected, he now faces physiotherapy and more surgery.

Jacqueline Crowe, 46, a nurse who damaged her back trying to move a faulty bed was awarded £45,000. She was forced to leave her job after the accident. She now suffers depression and has to take strong painkillers daily.

For other case histories, see part 11 of the special investigation by Hazards magazine; A Deadly Business.

Details of events here ,including a minutes silence at noon.

This seems a world where lives are cheap, not one where health and safety has gone mad .

Hat tip,and credit for the pinched pic, John.