Health & Safety

International Workers Memorial Day - 28 April 2016

Remember the Dead and Fight for the Living

Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don’t die of mystery ailments, or in tragic “accidents”. They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn’t that important a priority. Workers’ Memorial Day (WMD) commemorates those workers. The 28 April annual event is marked all over the world, as workers and their representatives conduct events, demonstrations, vigils and a plethora of other activities to mark the day
As preparations begin for this year’s event, the TUC has announced the global campaign focus. “In 2016 the theme for the day is ‘Strong Laws – Strong enforcement – Strong Unions’ because across the world we are seeing growing attacks on health and safety protection, including in Britain where the government have removed protection from millions of self-employed workers, and across Europe where the European Commission is pursuing a dangerous deregulatory strategy,” the union body said.
“However strong laws are not enough if they are not going to be enforced. That is why we need proper inspections and enforcement action against those who break the laws.”
The TUC said that in UK the number of inspections has fallen dramatically in the past five years, while in many other countries enforcement is non-existent. “That is why we also need strong unions. Unionised workplaces are safer, yet the government is trying to stop unions protecting the health and safety of their members by restricting the right of health and safety representatives to take time off to keep the workplace safer, and also trying to reduce our right to strike when things go wrong.


The theme for the week in October will be stress and other psychosocial risks

In a recent survey for UNISON by the Labour Research Department, 90% of safety rep respondents identified stress as being within their top five hazards at work.
Nearly half identified it as the most important. Other factors which contribute towards workplace stressors such as bullying and harassment, violence, and excessive workloads were also key areas identified by the survey.
This is why UNISON is calling for branches to support the 2015 European Health and Safety Week which aims to get employers to assess and manage psychosocial risks, as they would any other workplace hazard.


This year’s theme is Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress and UNISON’s campaign is titled CUT STRESS NOT JOBS!

In October 2014 IOSH and Healthy Working Lives (HWL) are launching the Managing Stress Train 2015 Challenge, through EU-OSHA supported events for its ‘Healthy workplaces manage stress’ campaign.  Organisations can take part in reducing the burden of stress and mental ill health in Scottish workplaces.

Stress and related issues take their toll on employees and businesses all over Scotland:
  • On average, each person suffering from work related stress took 24 days off work. (Labour Force Survey, 2013)
  • Mental health problems at work cost Scottish employers over £2 billion per year (SAMH 2011)
  • The main work activities attributed by respondents as causing their work-related stress, or making it worse, were work pressure, lack of managerial support and work related violence and bullying. (Labour Force Survey, 2013)
  • The total costs of mental health problems in Europe (both work and non-work related) is estimated at EUR 240 billion per year. EUR 136 is attributed to lost productivity including absence and presenteeism. (ENWHP, 2009)
  • The starting point for effective prevention of stress is good people management. (CIPD, 2013)
Glen Anderson, our Health and Safety Officer will be attending one of the events in Aberdeen and will feedback to the Branch committee.
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