Are you dying to go home?

Every year more people are killed at work than in wars.

28 April 2017 is the annual Workers’ Memorial Day.  It’s hard to believe that the world of work is still so dangerous.  Of course, many of us underestimate the risk of many of the things we do each day – how many people treat driving along the road as the single most dangerous thing that most people in the UK do, yet every day 5 people die doing just that.  The same goes for many of the activities we do every day at work – lifting and carrying heavy boxes, walking up and down stairs while talking on your mobile phone, and a whole list of other things we all do in our working day, often without thinking.

Some people describe taking precautions to prevent such activities from injuring people as “health & safety gone mad”, but the aim is to make sure people go home from work as healthy as they were when they arrived.  In spite of those measures, 142 people in the UK still didn’t make it home after going to work in 2014/15.  Even more worrying are the estimates of 13,000 people dying each year because of past exposure to harmful conditions at work, 8,000 people dying of occupation-related cancers and 4,000 from exposure to dust, fumes or chemicals.  And that’s in the UK where we’ve had the Health & Safety at Work Act in place since 1974.  The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that more than 1 million people die worldwide each year from work-related factors, almost double the number who die due to war.

Workers’ Memorial Day provides an opportunity to reflect, to remember the people in the UK and across the world who have died trying to make a living and support their families and possibly to attend one of the many events to mark the Day across the country.

And Workers’ Memorial Day is an opportunity to avoid being complacent and to avoid the trap of viewing the basic common sense of anticipating ‘accidents’, and taking steps to stop them from happening, as an unnecessary imposition.

 

I’d be interested to know your thoughts on this subject, so please leave a comment, but if you’d like to discuss this topic more directly please contact me at malcolm@strathesk.co.uk or give me a call on 07736068787.

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