An international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, injured or disabled by work takes place today (28 April 2015).

Workers’ Memorial Day focuses on the preventable nature of workplace accidents and illnesses – and with more people killed worldwide in work than in war every year, the need is greater than ever to highlight this problem.

Campaigning under the banner of “Remember the Dead – Fight for the Living”, representatives from trade unions, health and safety campaigners, accident victims and the families of those killed and injured in workplace accidents will put on events, demonstrations and a host of activities in an effort to ensure that tragedies in the workplace are not repeated.

In the UK alone, more than 20,000 people die every year because of their work. Many of these deaths are as a result of being exposed to dangerous substances at work, with the theme for this year Workers’ Memorial Day focusing on removing exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace.

Hazardous substances are found in almost every workplace in the UK and many workers are offered little protection against the possible effects of coming into contact with them, despite the fact that tens of thousands of workers have their health destroyed by asthma, dermatitis, lung disorders and cancers.

Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors said, “Workers’ Memorial Day is recognised by the UK government and employers alike, but all too often many of those employers fail in their pledge to provide adequate safety and protection for their workforce and the government of the last five years has continually sought to erode workers’ health and safety rights.

“Through our unrivalled work with victims of asbestos exposure and those suffering from industrial diseases, the focus on exposure to hazardous substance for this year’s awareness day is something we are all too familiar with. Too many employers fail to provide the necessary safety equipment, which is often neither particularly sophisticated nor expensive, to protect their employees and it is this negligence which devastates people’s lives.

“Every year at Thompsons Solicitors, we join victims of workplace accidents and illnesses, their families and our partners in the trade union movement to commemorate Workers’ Memorial Day and are as committed today as always to campaigning for robust health and safety regulations and a safe workplace for all.”