Category Archives: 28 April / WMD

28 April: Remember the dead fight for the living – Hazards Campaign

Hazards Campaign news release 27 April 2020

Tuesday 28 April is International Workers Memorial Day #IWMD20

Remember the Dead Fight for the Living

Fighting for hearts and minds of all workers

Every year on 28 April all over the world trade unions, workers, families mark International Workers Memorial Day because work still hurts, makes ill and kills millions globally every year, and over 50,000 in this country, 140 a day before the pandemic arrived to make things worse. Bad jobs can break your heart, leaving us HEARTBROKEN. Whether the threat at work is another new virus, dangerous substances or heart-breaking demands, your life should not be on the line. Unions can make it better.

The Hazards Campaign brought Workers Memorial Day to the UK in 1990s with twin aims, to Remember the Dead but also to Fight for the Living and has marked it every year since then. This year as Coronavirus rages through the world it is more necessary than ever to honour both those aims so no more workers will die needlessly.

We will remember all those low paid, insecure and exploited workers who are now recognised as essential: NHS workers, social care workers, cleaners, bus drivers, delivery drivers, taxi uber and other transport workers, food chain workers, cleaners, supermarket and other shop workers, postal, education, civil servants, border and prison guards, social & call centre workers etc.

Unions and workers are organising, fighting back and winning sick pay, site closures, pay for all laid off workers and PPE.

There will be action all across the UK, online meetings and physically distanced outdoor meetings and demos in essential workplaces, and #CoronavirusWalkouts in the UK and across the world

Hazards Campaign supports the 11am one minutes silence

to Remember the Dead – those dying from Covid19 and all work hazards.   At home hold up a Heartbroken poster, stand by your door, gate or in the street. At work hold a safe physically distanced outdoor vigil.

In Fighting for the Living, we call for Government and employers to ‘Stop the pandemic at work’ by:

Closing all non-essential workplaces

Paying every worker living wage, liveable sick pay from day 1 to #StayHomeSaveNHSSaveLives

Providing correct PPE for all essential workers #PPENow #NoKitNoCare

No release from ‘lockdown’ or any return to work unless based on highest level of precaution, prevention and protection of all workers.

Testing, tracing and quarantining

The Covid pandemic has made clear that workers health is public health. Workers health is public health, if the workforce is not protected then the public cannot be protected in a pandemic. We need good workplace health and safety to prevent work-related Covid infections, deaths or transmission, and any other preventable work-related illnesses, injuries or deaths either.  See Hazards Campaign Full #IWMD20 Briefing  FACK Statement for #IWMD20

The Hazards Campaign has worked with Greater Manchester Hazards Centre and Families Against Corporate Killers to produce three  new #IWMD20 films: Lean on Me – Families against corporate killers supporting families of those killed at work, and.

Hazards Campaigner talking about IWMD means to them. Fallen tears https://youtu.be/HdXlCUM9IBI

Manchester IWMD20 Zoom Meeting 12 noon https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10222588758448393&set=gm.3224181100960432&type=3&theater&ifg=1

For more information contact Janet Newsham 077343 17158  or Hilda Palmer 0161 792 1044  079298 0024,

Notes:

Hazard Campaign Call to Action, Posters, Social media graphics and full Briefing: http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/

The Whole Story – real figures on total deaths at work  http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/thewholestory.pdf

TUC RISKs newsletter summary of Trade Union Action on IWMD 28 April
https://www..tuc.org.uk/news/risks-944-22-april-2020

Hazards Magazine Issue 149 Exposed  http://www.hazards.org/index.htm

FACK Statement for #IWMD20 http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/blog/28-april-fack-statement-if-you-do-not-protect-the-workforce-in-a-pandemic-you-do-not-protect-the-public

Hazards Campaign Windrush Millennium Centre 70 Alexandra Road Manchester M16 7WD

content/uploads/2018/08/thewholestory.pdf

TUC RISKs newsletter summary of Trade Union Action on IWMD 28 April
https://www..tuc.org.uk/news/risks-944-22-april-2020

Hazards Magazine Issue 149 Exposed  http://www.hazards.org/index.htm

FACK Statement for #IWMD20 http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/blog/28-april-fack-statement-if-you-do-not-protect-the-workforce-in-a-pandemic-you-do-not-protect-the-public

Hazards Campaign Windrush Millennium Centre 70 Alexandra Road Manchester M16 7WD

28 April: FACK statement – If you do not protect the workforce in a pandemic, you do not protect the public.

Statement: Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK)

International Workers’ Memorial Day 28 April 2020

In the weeks leading up to this year’s International Workers’ Memorial Day, our FACK hearts have collectively felt the heaviest they have for quite some time, many of us having already lived for a decade or more with the heartbreak currently being inflicted on those losing loved ones to COVID-19.

Like them, we didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. Like them, we know that the deaths of our loved ones could and should have been prevented. Like us, they know there will be no justice for their grandparents, mums, dads, siblings, or children. And we all know that we will never know The Whole Story.

And so, as we sought the words to give voice to our thoughts today, we worried that it was just too big an ask…until it struck us: we have said all that needs to be said before!

While our words have previously been said in challenge to work-related incidents and illnesses, there are chilling parallels to the pandemic crisis which engulfs us.

We FACKers remember ALL of the dead, having repeatedly implored that each and every work-related fatality should be recognised, counted and be made to count! And the very same is true of COVID-19 deaths.

The HSE figure of 147 fatalities last year doesn’t include those who die in maritime or air incidents, who die on our roads while working, or those who die by work-related suicide.  It doesn’t count members of the public who die as a result of work-related activities, nor the huge numbers killed by occupational illness.  When all those lost loved ones are counted – as they should be – we reach nearer 1500 who die in work-related incidents, and a further 50,000 who die each and every year as a result of work-related illness! But unless this true toll is set out in plain sight, depth of impact cannot be measured, lessons cannot be learned, and future needless loss of life cannot be prevented.

So it is for COVID-19 fatalities. As Professor Andy Watterson has stated: “If you do not protect the workforce in a pandemic, you do not protect the public.” And so, to stop the pandemic at work, we need to understand where ALL of the deaths are occurring. Government advisers said at the outset that if deaths in the UK could be kept to under 20,000, that would be a “good” result. Utterly disgusting then. And even more disgusting now as The Whole Story we estimate to be approaching twice that number!

We FACKers have been clear that the work a person does often results from inequality, and that it often results in health inequality. The lower your pay grade, the higher your health and safety risks, whether from overwork, exposure to cancer-causing substances, the inability to turn down overtime and shift work, or the worry about speaking up on health and safety for fear you lose your job.

So it is for COVID-19 fatalities.  The lower your pay grade, the more likely you are to be exposed and the less likely you are to be able to remove yourself from harm without losing your income or your job. Nurses, porters, care workers, bus drivers, retail assistants, delivery drivers…keyworkers who all deserve so much better from the government and enforcement authorities, just as our FACK lost loved ones did.

But we FACKers remain resolute, principally because the precious memories of those loved ones fuels us in our fight for the living.

And so it is for those bravely speaking out about the threat from COVID-19 in their time of overwhelming grief. Who could fail to be moved by 16 year old Bethany Pearson, who laid bare the pain felt on going to bed knowing her beloved dad was feeling 5 out of 10, only to wake in the morning to find he was gone?  She said the saving grace for her family is that it still feels unreal. And we know only too well that that lack of reality is lasting.

Because, we FACKers, our hearts break all over again at repeatedly hearing that a work-related fatality was an “accident waiting to happen”.

And on COVID-19, so many preventable deaths are occurring. So we weep for Dr Abdul Mabud Chowdhury’s family. He is the consultant urologist who wrote a post on Facebook, directed at Boris Johnson, warning that healthcare workers urgently needed more PPE. He said they had a human right like others to live in this world disease-free with their families and children. He lost his life 5 days later. His son Intisar says: “my father would not be afraid to point out what was wrong. Because he cared, about people, co-workers, colleagues, family, people he’s never even met.”

We FACKers know just who it is that does care: those who operate our Hazards Centres and the Hazards Campaign; those trade union safety reps who fight with every ounce of their being for hearts and minds, and to prevent loss of life. We know that trade union workplaces are safer workplaces, whether that be day-to-day, or when battling a pandemic.

We FACKers said that “life and limb will be lost…life and limb are being lost…as a result of the continued denigration of health and safety by politicians and also vast swathes of the media.” To hear those who have so denigrated  and demolished health and safety protections over the past couple of decades implore us all to “stay safe”…well, it sticks in the craw.

Because…we FACKers have said all that needs to be said before!!

So, until such time as people, not profits, are paramount; until lives are prioritised over livelihoods; until abject carelessness is replaced by exemplary care, we FACKers will continue to fight for your right not to walk in our shoes.

Remember ALL of the dead. And please, fight like hell for the living!

FACK was established in July 2006, by and for families of people killed by the gross negligence of business employers, see www.fack.org.uk .

Founder Members of FACK:

Dawn and Paul Adams son Samuel Adams aged 6 killed at Trafford Centre,10th October 1998

Linzi Herbertsonhusband Andrew Herbertson 29, killed at work on 30th January 1998

Mike and Lynne Hutin son Andrew Hutin 20, killed at work on 8th Nov 2001

Mick & Bet Murphyson Lewis Murphy 18, killed at work on 21st February 2004

Louise Taggart brother Michael Adamson 26, killed at work on 4th August 2005

Linda Whelanson Craig Whelan 23, (and Paul Wakefield) killed at work on 23rd May 2004

Dorothy & Douglas Wrightson Mark Wright 37, killed at work on 13th April 2005

For more information and to support FACK
Hilda Palmer, Facilitator for FACK
c/o Hazards Campaign,
Windrush Millennium Centre,
70 Alexandra Road,
Manchester, M16 7WD.
Tel 0161 636 7557

mail@gmhazards.org.uk  www.fack.org.uk

28 April: Hazards Campaign call to action

Workers’ Memorial Day 2020

Normal public events for April 28th won’t be possible because of measures to contain Coronavirus/Covid-19. But marking International Workers’ Memorial Day has never been more important for workers’ lives and health and those of our families and communities.

Some workplace events may still go ahead but we are taking #IWMD20 online, developing a social media campaign that we want everyone to join in. This will keep the day and its perennial aims on the public and political agenda with the twin slogans to ‘Remember the Dead and Fight for the Living’. This year’s international theme has been changed by ITUC to ‘Stop the Pandemic at work’.

The Hazards Campaign is going ahead with: ‘Unions fighting for hearts and minds’ incorporating the fight against Coronavirus.

Hazards Campaign – Final briefing and call to action document

  1. WINDOW DISPLAYS Put up a Heartbroken poster – order or print one off- make a window display! See below.
  2. POST SELFIES Post a selfie with Heartbroken poster, or your window poster display, add a message, post on social media #IWMD20 or send to us
  3. ORGANISE A MEETING Organise a meeting – on-line or in the workplace if it can be done safely.
  4. USE OUR FIGURES NOT HSE’S Use ‘The Whole Story’ on death caused by work not HSE partial statistics [Updated April 2020]
  5. MAPPING ACTION Mapping #IWMD20: tell us what you are doing and about workers memorials near you and we will map them.
  6. CAMPAIGN ON SOCIAL MEDIA Create a huge wave of #IWMD20 tweets and posts on social media – download sample graphics here
  7. HAZARDS FILM Watch and send out the Hazards Campaign Film for #IWMD20 ‘Fighting for Hearts and Minds – forthcoming.
  8. LIGHT A CANDLE Light a candle in the window on 28th at 9pm to remember all workers killed by #COVID and other work hazards – but be safe.
  9. MEMORIALS ONLINE Online memorials—post photos and details of those killed at and by work to us or direct to Twitter and Facebook.
  10. GLOBAL SOLIDARITY Use the #IWMD20 for national and international solidarity with our union colleagues all across the world. And check out the ITUC/Hazards magazine global hub for international activities.

Resources to print out for your window display 

Hazards Campaign 28 April 2020 resources order form

The Hazards Campaign has released an International Workers’ Memorial Day resources order form which includes, stickers ribbons and posters. You can download the form here.

United Kingdom: FACK statement on International Workers’ Memorial Day

Workplace victim support and campaign group Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) has issued a statement to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day 28 April 2019.

Selected quotes:

“When someone dies in a work-related incident, it’s not something that happened to a family. It is something that continues to happen. Not just for weeks or months. But for years…decades…maybe even generations.”

“Ensure the lessons to be learned from their deaths are taught over and over so that the greatest legacy of all can be built for this and future generations, a world of work that is safer and healthier: life-giving, not life-ending.”

For further information and to support FACK, contact Hilda Palmer, Facilitator for FACK: Tel 0161 636 7557

Hazards Campaign Workers’ Memorial Day 2019 posters

The Hazards Campaign, in conjunction with Hazards Magazine, has produced two striking International Workers’ Memorial Day 2019 posters. They are available in A4 and A3 sizes from the Campaign. Posters are free but postage will need to be paid on larger orders.  Order here. 

They can viewed on the Hazards magazine website at higher resolution. Poster 1 and Poster 2

Posters are free but  postage will need to be paid on larger orders. As a guide 25 x A4 posters OR 12 x A3 posters will cost £1.50 first class postage. Call us for a price: 0161 636 7558

Send Order to: Hazards Campaign, c/o GMHC, Windrush Millennium Centre, 70 Alexandra Road, Manchester M16 7WD
or janet@gmhazards.org.uk

Workers’ Memorial Day 2019 – Order form for Hazards Campaign resources

The Hazards Campaign has produced a variety of Workers’ Memorial Day resources to support unions and activists with their 28 April event planning. 

These include stickers, posters, purple ribbons and high-viz WMD jackets. See examples of the resources below.

ALSO: The Campaign has produced two new posters for #IWMD19. You can order them here – other resources can be ordered using this form

Other posters and resources

WMD car sticker

Hazards Campaign 28 April poster for 2018 #iwmd18

Hazards Campaign 28 April ‘Unions make work safer’ poster

Hazards Campaign purple hi-viz jacket

Hazards Campaign: 28 April International Workers Memorial Day briefing

28 April International Workers Memorial Day #IWMD18

Remember the Dead Fight for the Living – Fighting for our lives in Unions

A large body of evidence shows that Unionised Workplaces are Safer Workplaces .

Through workers organising together in unions they can fight for safer, healthier and decent work for all.  Collective action and elected safety reps create the proven ‘Union Safety Effect’  making workplaces twice as safe.1   In 2018 we are celebrating 40 years of the Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations, SRSCR, which give elected union safety reps the powers and functions to hold employers to account, challenge them and work with them to make work safe and healthier.

Under the SRSCR, Safety Reps have the right to as much paid time to do their job as  necessary  – not facility time. Their role includes carrying out inspections and surveys; talking to members, mapping the workplace;  investigating incidents;  making  reports, and representations to management; being consulted in good time about anything that affects health and safety-chemicals, stress, jobs design, work   changes, pay, shifts, staffing  levels -to be involved in risk assessments, represent members and act collectively to make the workplaces better for all workers.   It works:

Safety reps save lives, save health and save money. Unions make workplaces twice as safe as non organised workplaces 

Hazards Campaigner Tommy Harte brought International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) to the UK in the 1990s from  Canada and USA,  with two aims: to “Remember the Dead” and to  “Fight for the Living. The Hazards Campaign promotes and resources IWMD  which is now commemorated in hundreds of events across the UK from Aberdeen to Penzance.  We focus on both aims by holding events or memorials to remember all those killed through work and at the same time to campaign against the causes of these preventable tragedies to stop workers being killed in future.  International Workers Memorial Day, IWMD, is now commemorated throughout the world, in thousands of events involving millions of people and is recognised by dozens of countries including the UK Government in 2009.  The #IWMD18  theme agreed by ITUC  and Trade Unions internationally is:

Unionised Workplaces are Safer Workplaces No-one should ever die just for going to work . Millions do every year, not in freak accidents or of rare illnesses, but because employers did not comply with the law, and governments let them get away with it Almost ALL workplace death, injury and illness is PREVENTABLE

In GB, Health and Safety Executive, HSE, annual figures of 137 deaths at work in 2016/17 only covers those reported to HSE and Local Authorities. It excludes members of the public killed in work incidents, workers killed on roads, at sea, in air and by work-suicide. The figure also excludes those dying because of bad work conditions from cancers, heart, lung and other diseases. Using expert research, the Hazards Campaign estimates a more realistic figure for those killed in work-related incidents is 1,477 and those dying of work illnesses as 50,000 per year.

That is around 140 people dying from work per day or one person every 10 minutes in GB.

The UN ILO estimates 2.78 million people worldwide dying from work every year up from 2.3 million in 2014.  One person killed by work every 11 seconds worldwide.

 Safety Reps saving lives at work for 40 years!   This year we celebrate the birth of the TUC, established at the   Mechanics Institute at a meeting called by Salford and Manchester Trades Union Councils 150 years ago, as well as the 40th anniversary of the Safety Representatives and Safety C/te Regulations, one of the most important laws for workers’ lives and health but one that has been almost totally unenforced.

Workers began organising in Trade Unions 150—200 years ago, to improve health and safety in their own workplaces and through political action to win wider legal changes and protections. By educating agitating and organising and acting collectively, unions gained a shorter working day, more time off work, reduction in exposure to chemicals, dangerous machinery, an end to child labour and exploitation, and won stronger social protection laws and stricter enforcement, as well as fighting for higher wages.

It’s not about asking for improvements but having the collective voice and industrial  power to demand them.

Union action also led to the Health and Safety at Work Act in 1974 and the Safety Representatives and Safety C/te Regulations in 1977 which enabled unions and safety reps to be even more effective in cutting the death rate in work incidents and making a major impact on work-related illnesses.   Everyone should come home safe and well after their shift. But we still have too many workplaces that kill, injure and make workers very sick, often to death .  Injuries and death at work may have fallen but problems including work cancers, insecurity and the despair of work stress related to low pay,   insecurity, overwork and a lack of respect are rocketing  and  “only informed collective action will really make  work better”

 The TUC has collected Safety Rep success stories 6  which add to the massive body of evidence shows that union organisation and safety reps do make work safer, save lives, save health,  and save money for employers and the economy—up to £700 million per year   proving that good health and safety is not a burden on  business, or a job killer but a positive contribution to our human rights. Poor health and safety costs, on Hazards estimates, between £30 and 60 billion per year.

 Sharan Burrow ITUC: “Health is a human right and does not stop at the factory gates. Our strategy will use all the trade union instruments – namely, representation, negotiation and action – for the organization for decent, safe and healthy work”

Despite all of this evidence, since 2010 government has attacked health and safety law and enforcement as ‘red tape’, employers ride rough shod over laws and fail to comply,  and the Trade Union Act makes  it harder for unions to protect and defend workers health. A big cut in funding enforcement led to far fewer preventative inspections and enforcement actions on non-compliant, criminal employers, so  increasingly  it is down to Safety Reps!

Hugh Robertson, TUC says ” It is clear that we need trade unions more than ever before. The case has been proven that safety reps are good for workers, good for the economy and good for business….The only people who fear us are employers who want to cut corners and take risks with our lives.  Good employers are already working with unions, we need the rest to start recognising the benefits and we need the government to stop attacking unions and instead do more to ensure that employers are consulting with union so that everyone can get the benefits unions bring”  

Use #IWMD to fight for our lives and join together in unions to make work safer !

Hazards Campaign c/o GMHC. Windrush Millennium Centre, 70 Alexandre Road, Manchester, M16 7WD                                                        info@hazardscampaign.org.uk      @hazardscampaign

UNION Workplaces are Safer & Healthier #IWMD18 Wear a purple forget-me-knot ribbon Put a sticker in your car TAKE ACTION on 28 April #IWMD18

In GB there are around 1,500 deaths from incidents and 50,000 from work illnesses, over 621,000 injuries and millions made ill by work every year. Almost all work deaths, injuries and illness are due to employers’ mismanagement. Inequality and discrimination at work mean that the most vulnerable workers—the poorest, women, young, ethnic minority, migrant, LBGT and non unionised workers— are at more risk of being made ill, injured or killed by work.

What you can do on #iwmd18 Big Up Unions! Use the Resources to shout loud and proud that UNIONS MAKE WORK SAFER and take action to strengthen your union organisation or create a union at work.

  • Find out what is happening in your area on 28 April, see TUC list of events email details or your event to healthandsafety@tuc.org.uk & own union
  • If nothing is happening then get together with workmates and organise – a commemorative rally, a minutes silence; a workplace inspection, a meeting to discuss health and safety and celebrate the positive impact of unions and Safety Reps @40 , use the Safety Rep Box to discuss what you can do
  • Ask your local council, or any other public body, to fly official flags at half-mast on the day. Remember that the day is officially recognised by the UK government;
  • Arrange an event such as planting a memorial tree in a public place, putting up a plaque, dedicating a sculpture, a piece of art, or a bench, to remember workers who have been killed at the workplace or in the community;
  • Workers’ Memorial Day is on 28 April, consider how you can best use local media both before & on the day.
  • If you are planning any event for the day, or you want to raise awareness: distribute and wear purple ‘forget-me-not’ ribbons, put up posters, and remember to let people know about anything that happens in your area on the day. Order resources: http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/iwmd18resources.pdf
  • Send ecard to Prime Minister demanding end to attacks on laws that protect our lives & health because as Grenfell fire & all work deaths show: ‘Red Tape is better than bloody bandages’:
  • Tweet about your workplace union health and safety successes use internationally unifying hashtag #IWMD18 and check it for new resources and retweet.

#IWMD18 Resources  and Information   

Purple Ribbons the symbol of the day; Union Workplaces are Safer Workplaces Car Stickers, High Vis jackets & FREE posters

Hazards Magazine Articles on Safety Reps@40:   ‘It’s down to you’   ‘What’s your best face’  Safety Reps Rights  Box

TUC  Safety Reps@40  

https://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/28_april_2018_en.pdf

Sharan Burrows ITUC: Unions are organising for safer, healthier, decent work  @SharanBurrow. @ITUC

TUC list of events

GMHC IWMD Background Leaflet:

The Whole Story: Our estimates of the real toll of deaths and illnesses caused by work which are far greater than HSE publishes or press/media report

FILMS

Louise Taggart’s blog about her brother Michael who went to work & was killed by employer’s negligence-

Carol Harte’s film of  Tommy Harte  bringing  IWMD to the UK

GMHC International Workers’ Memorial Day

UNITE The Safety of the Vulnerable Worker

UNISON Problems in the Care Sector

Thompson’s Solicitors: Industrial injury, compensation, the Government and the Law

ASLEF Rail Safety

BFAWU Fighting for justice

#IWMD2014: Deregulatory Daleks tied up in red tape!   Hazards Magazine:

Families Against Corporate Killers, FACK    work with families of those killed by work: BellyflopTV

See also Facebook: Families Against Corporate Killers

FACKers tell their stories:  ‘Face the FACKs: the Human Face of Corporate Killing’

Face the FACKs  Part 1       Face the FACKs Part  2

Face the FACKs Part  3      Face the FACKs Part 4

TV coverage Cameron Minshull        Cameron  Killed

Hazards Campaign c/o GMHC, Windrush Millennium Centre, 70 Alexandre Road, Manchester, M16 7WD                                                         info@hazardscampaign.org.uk @hazardscampaign
Face Book: We Didn’t Vote to Die at Work

UK: FACK Statement – International Workers’ Memorial Day 28 April 2018 #IWMD18

FACK Statement – International Workers’ Memorial Day 28 April 2018 #IWMD18

“I don’t know where to begin.  So I’ll start by saying I refuse to forget you.  I refuse to be silenced.  I refuse to neglect you.”

These words are “for every last soul” who perished at Grenfell, and are spoken by Stormzy at the start of the Artists for Grenfell single.  They could just as easily have been spoken by FACK families.

We will never forget our lost loved ones and ask that you don’t either.  Instead, in their memories, devote your energies to fighting for the living.

We continue to refuse to be silenced.  Instead we use our voices to increase a chorus of disapproval aimed at seeking an end to this era of de-regulation, in which health and safety protections have been undermined and preventative enforcement has been slashed. 1

We want the chorus of disapproval to reach a crescendo.

Because each and every day here in the UK a lack of good health and safety continues to lead to the deaths of 140 people in work-related incidents or because of work-related illness.  The equivalent of 2 Grenfell towers…daily.  2

Let that sink in for a moment.

Opening and closing with the vision of the charred tower block, the music video which accompanies the Grenfell single can’t fail to touch hearts.

And all too often, it is music which evokes memories to tear at a FACK family’s heart, just as a line from the Verve’s “The Drugs Don’t Work” does for Samuel Adams’ mum: “But I know I will see your face again”.  Sam was 6-yrs-old when he went for a family day out to the Trafford Shopping Centre and his face was only to continue to be seen in photos and preciously held memories.

Frankie Miller singing “Let me tell you that I love you, that I think about you all time” transports 26-yr-old Michael Adamson’s family and friends back to the devastation of the walk from the crematorium.

Welsh hymn Gwahoddiad is the one guaranteed to reduce Andrew Hutin’s parents to tears, the one that raised the roof of the chapel at the funeral of a young man who had only recently turned 20 when a tidal wave of molten metal exploded from a blast furnace.

How do you begin to choose the songs for your 18 year old son’s funeral?  FACK families’ intention is that you never have to.  But Mick and Bet Murphy did, guided by those that were among Lewis’ favourites at the time of his death.  A song called “Crossroads” taking on particular poignancy, containing lyrics such as: “Hey, can somebody anybody tell me why we die, we die? I don’t wanna die. Ohhh so wrong.”

Fundamentally wrong that these young men were taken from their families, denied the opportunity to live their lives.  And why?  Because still far too often health and safety is wrongly seen as a burden, red tape, a tiresome impediment to getting a job done, or a costly barrier to making a profit.

There are those whose praises FACK families sing.  Among them:

  • The firefighters whose emotions overwhelmed them on being clapped and cheered by the local community at Grenfell – that community knowing they had done all they could, and more, to save lives.
  • Those who have had the courage to speak out about perils faced by themselves and their colleagues, finding themselves blacklisted as a result.
  • Those who work in our Hazards Centres – in Manchester, London and Glasgow – seeking to prevent work-related harm, committed to improving workplace health and safety.
  • And trade unions safety reps whose life-saving work often goes unnoticed, but whose work needs to be celebrated and built upon. Because, let’s be clear: a union workplace is a safer workplace.

These are the people who prevent injury, illness and death; who prevent suffering and the consequent need for a soundtrack to tears.  They are the ones with whom we must ensure chords are struck.

Because, yes, perhaps a song brings into firm focus a happy moment caught in time…running bare foot from a tent at a bike rally in Edinburgh on hearing Born Slippy by Underworld, Graham and Karen to be the only ones dancing and grinning in the rain.

But Natalie, Dionne, Sharon…they are among those who’d “love, love, love to dance with their fathers again”, who are destined to do so only in dreams.

The dreams and the plans that had been hatched by Linzi and Herbie during long nights spent listening to The Rock from The Who’s Quadrophenia, were not to become reality.

Instead, in the aftermath, songs that filled the void “at the dimming of the day” bring into dark focus the utter desolation.

Just what would Dorothy and Douglas give to hear Mark belting out again: “I gotta take a little time…In case I need it when I’m older”.  He wasn’t to get any older than the age of 37.

Another of his favourites was “I want to live forever”.

We know that no-one lives forever.  But, work should be life-changing in a positive way.  It should never ever be life-ending.

So we intend to continue to build a legacy for our loved ones, that will live on forever through improved protections that keep your family members safe and healthy

FACK facilitator Hilda Palmer has quite rightly described Grenfell as an “Enough is Enough” moment.  And the death of each of our loved ones was our own personal enough is enough moment.

Let us repeat: lack of good health and safety leads to loss of life equivalent to two Grenfell towers each and every day in this country.

Enough is surely enough!    By Louise Taggart Founder FACK member, sister of Michael Adamson.

References:

Hazards Campaign Briefing for #IWMD18

Michael’s Story: Louise Taggart’s blog about her brother Michael who went to work and was killed by employer’s negligence. Video

We Love Red Tape

The Whole Story about work-related death :

FACK was established in July 2006, by and for families of people killed by the gross negligence of business employers, see www.fack.org.uk .

Founder Members of FACK:

Dawn and Paul Adams son Samuel Adams aged 6 killed at Trafford Centre,10th October 1998

Linzi Herbertsonhusband Andrew Herbertson 29, killed at work in January 1998

Mike and Lynne Hutin son Andrew Hutin 20, killed at work on 8th Nov 2001

Mick & Bet Murphyson Lewis Murphy 18, killed at work on 21st February 2004

Louise Taggart brother Michael Adamson 26, killed at work on 4th August 2005

Linda Whelanson Craig Whelan 23, (and Paul Wakefield) killed at work on 23rd May 2002

Dorothy & Douglas Wrightson Mark Wright 37, killed at work on 13th April 2005

For more information and to support FACK, contact Hilda Palmer, Facilitator for FACK: Tel 0161 636 7557

c/o Hazards Campaign, Windrush Millennium Centre, 70 Alexandra Road, Manchester M16 7WD Tel 0161 636 7557
mail@gmhazards.org.uk  www.fack.org.uk

28 April – Unions make work safer

28 April Hazards Campaign poster – Unions make work safer

Hazards Campaign has produced the two posters below to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day. A4 and A3 versions – ideal for demos, vigils, noticeboards and meetings – can be ordered  here. Free to unions and campaigners (plus postage) .

Details of UK-wide 28 April activities can be found here.
Global activities are listed on the ITUC/Hazards 28april.org website.