Every year on the 28 April in 19 countries across the world, workers remember all those who have died in an accident at work or from occupational illnesses and diseases such as exposure to asbestos. Sadly, more people are killed at work each year than die in wars. Many more suffer from work related disability or chronic ill health.
The theme for this year’s event following the many unnecessary deaths workers suffered from Covid is making sure that health and safety at work is a "fundamental employment right".
Greater London UNISON Housing Associations, has held an annual memorial in Stratford, East London for many years, organised by local members, other trade unions and some employer safety officers.
The annual memorial in Stratford takes place at Three Mills Green, E3 3DU behind the historic buildings nearby and next to the River Lea. It is about 10 minutes’ walk from Bromley-By-Bow underground station.
There is a “clasping hands” statute at this site remembering the deaths of 4 workers who were suffocated in an underground vent. 3 Of them had sacrificed their lives while trying to rescue others by trying to pull them out of the vent but were overcome by fumes.
Local MP Lyn Brown will be laying a wreath on behalf of UNISON at 11am on the day. All welcome. Please bring banners and assemble by 10.45.
If you work outside London, check out this TUC website for an event near you https://www.tuc.org.uk/iwmd-events
Not only is this a day to remember the dead it is also a day to campaign and remind everyone of the risks they face at work and what can be done to reduce them.
In previous years in our branch line managers and UNISON members on 28 April were encouraged to go on joint “walkabouts” around their offices looking for simple slip and trip hazards while other workers had special “tool box” talks on relevant safety issues. With many employees still working from home for at least part of the week, 28 April could be the day to make sure you have an up-to-date home or office desktop risk assessment and you have any aids that are needed.