Blog: As we remember the dead and injured, we reaffirm our demand for safe and healthy work for all

Each year on or near 28 April, UNISON joins people around the world to celebrate International Workers’ Memorial Day.

In doing so, we remember the dead and the injured – those killed, made ill, or hurt by their own or someone else’s work. Yet we also fight for the living – by reaffirming our demand for safe and healthy work for all.

According to the TUC, at least 20,000 workers die each year from work-related injuries and illnesses. But the National Hazards Campaign believes that these statistics are wildly inaccurate and that the true figure is closer to 50,000 work-related deaths per year.

Despite these shocking figures, we’ve experienced consistent government attacks against good health and safety management.

Now, with the potential impacts of the UK exiting the European Union, safety in the workplace is under further threat.

Our position is clear – UNISON will challenge any steps by the UK government that threaten to undermine the safety of our members at work.

So what can you do to make a difference?

  • For more information on International Workers Memorial Day go to: https://www.unison.org.uk/events/international-workers-memorial-day-health-and-safety-its-an-equality-issue/.
  • Wear the purple forget-me-knot ribbon, the symbol of the day and raise awareness of the issues by talking to others.
  • Attend and support any Memorial events near you either today/Friday or this weekend – check with your branch, the TUC website, or UNISON’s Health and Safety FaceBook page.
  • Use UNISON’s health and safety materials to challenge poor performance on health and safety by your employer.
  • And if not already, consider becoming a safety rep and join the campaign for safer healthier work – ask your branch for further details.