Monday, 28 April 2014

Chorley remembers the dead and fights for the living

Photograph is copyright Mark Harvey 
On Friday 25 April, around 50 people assembled at the Memorial Tree at Astley Park, Chorley to Remember the Dead and Fight for the Living. This is the ninth year that Chorley has hosted a Workers Memorial Day event, with this year’s theme being ‘stronger unions save lives.’ It was a point pressed home by local hospital worker Heath Watkinson, who became a Unite safety rep after he and fellow workers suffered a series of needle stick injuries, the all clear for which takes nine months.  “By getting ourselves organised and asserting our rights we have made Chorley hospital a much safer, pleasanter place to work with far fewer injuries,” said Heath.

2.3 million people a year are killed by work worldwide. This figure is greater than the numbers killed by war. The loss of life at the Bhopal tragedy 30 years ago and amongst building workers constructing the stadiums that will host the World Cup in Brazil this summer were commemorated amongst a crowd that included the wife and family of Edward Draper. A dangerous driver who later served a small prison sentence tragically killed the motorway maintenance worker eleven years ago.

In 2012-13, over 1,400 workers were killed in the UK. Another 50,000 workers died of work related cancer, heart and lung disease. Over 100,000 are injured and millions more suffer ill-health each year. The human tragedy is bad enough but the financial implications are also immense with the health and safety executive (HSE) calculating that workplace injuries and ill health cost Britain £13.8 billion in 2010/11. (The most recent period for which full data are available)

Copyright - Mark Harvey
Such statistics clearly demonstrate how sensible it would be to improve workplace health and safety. However, as Hilda Palmer, who works at the Manchester Hazards Centre, explained in a wide-ranging speech, “this is a government driven by free market dogma. It does not believe in evidence or facts. Last year, Cameron Minshull, an apprentice aged sixteen, died after he was trapped in a metal lathe. When the HSE attended the scene they issued prohibition notices as the guards on the lathes had either been removed or disabled.

“That didn’t prevent David Cameron reducing safety precautions for apprentices or slashing the number of HSE inspectors. The Prime Minister claims to be cutting red tape but having strong rules and regulations, overseen by a unionised workforce, is preferable to the alternative which is bandages.”

Local Labour MP, Lindsay Hoyle, paid tribute to the organisers of the event and said: “the greatest tribute we can make to those who have died because of work is to reduce the numbers who do so in the future.”

The event was concluded with final words from the Reverend Tim Wilby, the laying of wreaths and a piper playing ‘Gresford’, the Miners’ Hymn.

Copyright Mark Harvey

 Workers Memorial Day 28 April 2014

“We Remember the Dead: 

All those many hundreds across the North West who have died due to exposure to asbestos. 

To read all of their names would take more time than we have here today,

but we remember each,  and every one of them, and we commit ourselves to   Fight for the Living"
pastedGraphic.png Workers Memorial Day 28 April 2014

"We Remember the Dead:

All those many thousands killed by all work-related illnesses such as heart disease, lung diseases, and cancers, across the North West.

All those hundreds of workers killed in work-related incidents across the North West. 

We do not know the names of most of these workers but we will read out 

the names of those whose deaths have been reported to the Health and 

Safety Executive, between April 2010 and April 2014, as we remember them all:

"Remember the Dead: 

We remember all those Workers in services and water and waste management who have died since 2010:

  • David Astley
  • Tony Schulze
  • Zbigniew Galka
  • Amin Qabil
  • Steven Garrret
  • Niall Page
  • Dorothy Ann Harkes
  • Grant Kinnie
  • Susan Brooks
  • Daniel Lobb
  • Christopher Morris
  • Mahesh Wickramasingha
  • Ricky Guest-Binns
  • Bryan John Pownall
  • Ernest Haughton

  • Craig Gray
  • Malcolm Harrison
  • Philip Davies
  • Carl Morris
  • John Bassett
  • Russell Joslin
  • Mike Proctor
  • Fiona Bone
  • Nicola Hughes
  • Darren Morley
  • Paul Williamson
  • George Howley
  • Stephen Hunt

We remember all those workers in manufacturing who have died since 2010:

  • Stanley Ian Heard
  • James Bibby
  • Thomas Elmer
  • Graham Begley
  • Robert Dunroe
  • Alan Catterall
  • Chris Cowan
  • Liam O’Neill
  • Leslie Brown
  • Martin McGlasson
  • Jason Pennington
  • Michael Wickstead
  • Mohammed Shakeel Abu
  • Andrew Bowes
  • Cameron Minshull
Christopher Wiliams
  • George Falder
  • Richard Ferris
  • Bruce Dempsey
  • Nathan Brown
  • John Flowers
  • Gray Jackson
  • Michael Moran
  • Ian Aliski
  • Shaun Dodgson

We remember all those construction workers who have died across the North West since April 2010 

  Peter Cochrane
  James Dennis Kay
Lee Bourn
  Matthew Nixon
  Andrew Dytiche
  James Sim
  Edwards Fitzgerald
  Anthony Causbsy
  Carl Green
  Grzegorz Sobko
  Gary Mellor
  Lindsay Richard Easton
  Michael Sweet
  Graham Readfern
  Justin Feber

  • Ivars Bahmanis
  • Alan Smith
  • Neville Heard
  • Geoffrey Davis
  • Adrian Smith
  • Henry Jones
  • Scott Harrower
  • Maxwell Lewis Grey

We Remember all those agricultural and fishing workers who have died across the North West Since April 2010

  • Sean Bennet
  • Thomas Postlethwaite
  • Peter Coutts
  • Colin Ellwood
  • William Wilson Boow
  • Andrew Davis
  • Wilfred Bennion
  • Mark Coates
  • Stephen Rimmer
  • Tony Hayton
  • Peter Hilton
  • Thomas Martin Sanderson

And we commit ourselves to Fight for the Living 

A 1910 poster - trade union organisation, improved technology
and better safety laws have cut the carnage in the last hundred years 
but much more still needs to be achieved. 

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