Late this morning I join Workers Memorial Day 2009, an event in the Peace Gardens organised by Trades Unions in the North West. There are a small number of short speeches and then a laying of wreaths followed by a minute’s silence in memory of all those around the world who have lost their life unnecessarily as a result of an incident at work causing injury or terminal illness.
It is shocking to hear that thousands of people in Britain are still killed each year because of poor health and safety at work, both workers themselves and other members of the public, and that thousands of families suffer as a consequence.
Good news today is that Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, James Purnell, is launching a consultation on formally recognising Workers Memorial Day, but what is more important is to make sure existing Health and Safety regulations are rigorously enforced with rogue operators driven out, that victims of poor Health and Safety and their families are compensated by those responsible, and that where necessary regulations are tightened up. We go to work to live, but lives are more important than profit.