Did you mark workers’ remembrance day in 2021?

Honour National Workplace Day of Remembrance by playing an active part in managing health and safety.

At midday on Sunday, people were invited to stop what they were doing an observe a minute’s silence to mark our National Workplace Day of Remembrance.

This annual remembrance event was established two years ago to remember all those who have died whilst trying to support their families and our economy.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are asked to down tools on 12th December for just one minute to pay their respects and public buildings with flagpoles are asked to fly their Union Flag at half-mast.

The National Workplace Day of Remembrance has helped to raise the profile of major – yet often sadly forgotten – events which have cast a dark cloud over our nation’s history such as The Oaks Disaster. The Oaks Colliery Disaster in Barnsley, Yorkshire, happened on 12 and 13 December 1866. Tragically, 361 people died in two separate explosions and the event remains the worst ever pit disaster in England in terms of lives lost.

Fortunately, thanks to the measures we have put in place in this country over the years to promote health and safety, major workplace disasters here are rare but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do more to protect our workers.

In 2020-2021 alone, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 142 people were killed in work accidents in Great Britain. The highest number of deaths were in the Construction and Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing industries but nearly every industry you can think of lost some of its workers. Manufacturing, wholesale, retail, motor repair, accommodation and food, administration and support services, waste and transport and storage – all of them experienced fatalities during the year.

What are the most common causes of deaths amongst British workers?

Falls from a height, being struck by a moving vehicle and being struck by a moving object continued to be the most common causes of deaths in 2020-2021 accounting for more than half of all fatal incidents involving workers.

The other main causes of deaths of British workers were being trapped by something collapsing or overturning or coming into contact with moving machinery.

It should be noted however that these figures do not necessarily give us a complete picture.

The 142 fatalities do not include certain types of work-related injury which are not reportable under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). These include fatal road accidents involving workers, fatal accidents involving workers travelling by air or sea and the deaths of members of the Armed Forces on duty at the time of the incident.

The statistics also exclude those who died at work from natural causes unless they were brought by trauma following an incident.

In addition to this, these numbers exclude deaths from occupational diseases and diseases arising from certain occupational exposures, including Covid-19.

Each year around 13,000 deaths from occupational lung disease and cancer are estimated to have been caused by past exposure, primarily to chemicals and dust, at work.

How can I mark National Workplace Day of Remembrance?

If you didn’t mark National Workplace Day of Remembrance in 2021, why not make a note in your 2022 calendar to commemorate it next year?

However, the most fitting tribute you can make to those who have lost their lives whilst serving our economy is to play an active part in managing health and safety.

It shouldn’t just be left to company bosses and managers – all of us have a duty to manage health and safety in the workplace.

If things are happening in your workplace that you are concerned about raise them with your line manager. If you know health and safety rules aren’t being followed – speak out.

You could prevent your company from being prosecuted for breaking health and safety law. You could stop your organisation from being heavily fined or a colleague from being given a custodial sentence. Even more importantly you could prevent someone from being injured – you could even save a life.

If you are a company boss or manager, make sure you are on top of your health and safety requirements by contacting an organisation like Acorn so you can get the help you need from the experts in the field.

At Acorn, we offer a comprehensive range of health and safety services, including Construction Health and Safety Inspections and Audits, Fire Risk Assessments and assistance with Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans. We also provide Retained Health and Safety Consultant Services to help organisations meet their health and safety needs without the cost of employing a full-time employee.

And, if you’re not sure what you need to do to protect your workers and ensure you’re complying with health and safety law you can book a free health and safety review with us.

We have tough health and safety laws in this country – which we know can be a headache for many bosses – but they do mean that our workplace fatality figures are lower than those of many other countries. By working together, we can make our record even better, save more lives and protect more firms from prosecution.

Everyone has a right to expect that they will return home safely at the end of their working day. If you need help to play your part in making this a reality, contact us today.

For all your health and safety needs visit https://acornhealthandsafety.co.uk/ or contact us at info@acornhealthandsafety.co.uk or on 01604 930380.

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