Trade unionists, workplace health and safety campaigners, representatives from Thompsons Solicitors, accident victims and the families of those killed and injured in workplace accidents, will gather across the UK at events today (28 April) to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day.

On this day every year, an international day of remembrance is held to recall those who have lost their lives in workplace accidents, and as a reminder of the ongoing work to be done in making all workplaces safe environments.

According to Health and Safety Executive statistics, workplace injuries and ill health (excluding cancer) cost society an estimated £13.8 billion in 2010 / 11. And in 2012/13:

  • 148 workers were killed at work;
  • 78,000 injuries to employees were reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR);
  • 175,000 seven day, or longer, absence injuries occurred;
  • 1.1 million working people suffered from a work-related illness;
  • 27 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury;

Stephen Cavalier
, chief executive of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Workplace safety is too often belittled as 'red tape' and concerns are derided as evidence of 'compensation culture'. Tell that to those now only statistics but once a fit active member of the working population, a Husband, Wife Dad or Mum.

“There are still far too many injuries and fatalities in the workplace. We see them every day.

“If the government continues in its war on so called 'red tape' workers’ safety will be compromised as employer obligations are reduced. The result is likely to be increases in deaths and injuries and we will know who to blame.

“International Workers’ Memorial Day is an important day for victims of workplace accidents and their families. From our work with hundreds of victims, we know the devastating results of poor health and safety in the workplace and battle daily with employers and insurers to get a fair deal for hard working people injured through no fault of their own, it is at the heart of what we do.”

A purple ribbon is often worn to mark the occasion, with events taking place across the UK and in 100 countries worldwide in commemoration. The theme for this year’s event is ‘Protecting workers around the world through strong regulation, enforcement and union rights.’