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RoSPA marks World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Sunday, April 28 is Workers’ Memorial Day, when people are urged to reflect and remember the thousands of lives lost or affected by workplace accidents and ill-health, and also World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ (RoSPA’s) National Occupational Safety and Health Committee (NOSHC) has a website to raise more awareness about the days and what they mean:

Workers’ Memorial Day is an internationally recognised event which gives people across the world the chance to remember those who were killed or seriously injured while doing their job or who suffered work-related ill-health, such as asbestos-related conditions.

There are dozens of permanent memorials to lost workers around the UK, some commemorating high-profile disasters which claimed the lives of many workers and others remembering lesser-known accidents in which a few people were killed. There have been many more accidents that are not officially marked and are only remembered by grieving families, colleagues and employers.

In 2011/12, there were 173 work-related fatalities due to accidents in Britain, plus around 600 deaths due to work-related road accidents.

Roger Bibbings MBE, RoSPA’s occupational safety adviser, said: “In 2011/12, more than 12,000 people died prematurely as a result of work-related health damage and a staggering 1.1 million working people suffered from an illness caused or made worse by work. We should never forget the massive impact which these individual tragedies have on families who, as a result, suddenly find themselves grieving or having to care for an injured loved one.

“The list of memorials on our website is just a small step towards acknowledging this loss to society and a reminder that RoSPA still has much to do to deliver its mission, which is to ‘save lives and reduce injuries’. At a time when we are all under pressure, let us hope that Workers’ Memorial Day can provide the added impetus needed to ensure that good health and safety management is not just maintained, but extended to all workplaces throughout the UK.”

Sheila Pantry OBE, a member of RoSPA’s NOSHC and creator of the memorial website, said: “Accidents, incidents and ill-health are sadly still everyday features in the workplace, so the importance of continuously repeating the health and safety message cannot be overstated. Workers’ Memorial Day and this website are important ways of communicating that message.”

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