for immediate use - 26 April 2007( Back to news releases)
Workers' Memorial Day
“People die at work every day but almost every death could have and therefore should have been prevented.” Says Linzi Herbertson, a founder member of FACK, Families Against Corporate Killers.
She added “We are families of people who have been killed in incidents at work – we don’t call them accidents as they did not just happen but were almost entirely predictable and therefore preventable. People we love went to work and never came home because of a political system that does not value them enough to protect them.
"Their employers ignored or failed to comply with basic health and safety law or explicitly put profits before people and the government considers worker deaths acceptable and is cutting the enforcement of health and safety and putting making workers at more risk.
"Members of FACK will be speaking at Workers Memorial Day events across the country when we will be ‘Remembering the Dead and Fighting like hell for the Living’ by demanding more enforcement of health and safety laws to save lives. Come and join us. Most of us thought it would never happen to us, now we know how easily it can and that we must join together and fight back, especially to protect our children.”
FACK has speakers at Workers Memorial Day events on Saturday 28th April in:
Glasgow at the Burns Memorial, George Square at 1pm. FACK speaker: Dorothy Wright whose son Mark was killed in a recycling plant in Chester.
Edinburgh at the Workers Memorial Day tree in Princess Street Gardens at 12 noon. FACK speaker: Louise Adamson whose brother Michael was electrocuted at store in Edinburgh.
Oldham at the Memorial Bench, George Square Gardens at 10am. The Mayor of Oldham, Cllr Bernard Judge, will present the Andrew Herbertson Memorial Award to Linzi Herbertson (whose husband was killed in a fall from scaffolding in Oldham) in recognition of her campaigning work in setting up Families Against Corporate Killers. Linzi said: “ To accept the Andrew Herbertson award this year, is a tremendous honour and I thank Oldham TUC for thinking about FACK and the work/campaigning we do for a change in the corporate manslaughter/homicide laws.”
York CWU meeting (Friday 27th) FACK speaker Linda Whelan
Manchester at the Peace Gardens, behind Manchester Town Hall, Joint Union Rally. FACK speaker: Linda Whelan whose son Craig was killed alongside fellow steeplejack Paul Wakefield in the Metal Box chimney fire in Bolton. Linda says: “I believe my son was murdered and while I cannot bring him back, I can fight for the proper enforcement of health and safety laws to protect other workers from such a horrible death. I urge everyone not to be complacent and think their health and safety is being protected by their employer. I know now that employers can get away with murder and want to stop the hundreds of unnecessary deaths each year by demanding that government enforces health and safety law as stringently as it enforces other laws. Workers lives are more important to their families than employers’ profits and workers lives and health should be a government priority too. That our health and safety is not their priority is an absolute disgrace.”
On WMD 2007 we are remembering people who have died in incidents at work (1,600-1,700 each year across the country) and also those who die from illnesses related to dust, chemicals and other poor conditions they were exposed to at work often years before (up to 50,000 each year). This year those dying from occupational cancer are especially remembered: the 5,000 from asbestos cancers and up to 18,000 for all types of work-related cancer.
FACK Contact details: Hilda Palmer 0161 636 7557 and:
Dorothy Wright whose son Mark was killed last year in an explosion at a recycling plant says: “To lose a child is a mother’s worst nightmare. For that child to be killed in the most horrific manner in a totally preventable incident by a grossly negligent employer makes that mother’s grief unbearable.” Dorothy has set up a petition, on the Prime Ministers petition site asking for WMD to be declared a national day.
Please use the link below to sign up http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/workersmemorial/
Dorothy adds: “My son predicted just weeks before his death that his employer was taking so many Health and Safety risks that someone would be killed one day. How can that be an 'accident'? How many lives have to be sacrificed for business profit before politicians, the media and our fellow citizens wake up to the fact that these killings are crimes of manslaughter and must be treated as such?”
Tel: 01244 317630 Mobile 07818442083
Linda Whelan whose son Craig was killed in a fire in a chimney at Metal Box in Bolton said “My son was murdered on 23rd May 2002, after 5 years I am still waiting for an inquest. Thousands of people have been killed by work since this government came to power, if they were killed by terrorism then government and government agencies would be crying out. Tel 01388 773884 daytime Mobile 07919334793
Linzi Herbertson whose husband Andrew was killed when he fell from scaffold platform while dismantling a printing press in Oldham in January 1998 says
“Any employer who kills a worker by negligence should go to jail. Everyone should be able to go to work and come home safely but this won’t happen until all employers know that if they don’t take workers health and safety seriously they will face severe consequences. Health and safety at work is a human right not a privilege and every workplace needs a trade union safety rep to keep the employer up to scratch.”
Tel 0161 681 8078 Mobile 07790024379
Louise Adamson whose brother Michael was electrocuted while working at a JJB store in Edinburgh says: “FACK is a national network of those bereaved as a result of unsafe and unhealthy workplaces who have been left angry and frustrated. We feel we have been robbed twice: Once of loved ones in incidents that should have been prevented by employers simply obeying the law on workplace health and safety; and secondly of the right to justice. FACK is campaigning to stop workers and others being killed in preventable incidents and will direct bereaved families to sources of legal help and emotional support. More than two years on from Mickey Tam’s death we’re still waiting to find out whether there will be a prosecution. Whatever the decision of the Procurator Fiscal and the Crown Office, the law as it stands cannot meet our expectations of justice, nor can the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill in its current form. Tel: 0131 271 4121 x4121 work mobile 07812 782 534.
Barbara Eason whose husband Michael died of mesothelioma, a cancer cause by asbestos, will speak to the press:Tel 0161 333 6245
Maureen Ogden whose husband Fred died of mesothelioma will speak to the press: Tel: 01942 677375
Elaine Haskins whose husband Hugh died of mesothelioma will speak to the press: Tel 0161 747 6546
Mariane Caterall whose husband Thomas died of mesothelioma will speak to the press: Tel 01942 493 646
Elaine Parsons whose son Steven 18, was killed in Doncaster when a truck fell off a jack and crushed him in March 2000 says: ‘Workers Memorial Day is a time for bosses to think about safety in the workplace, to re-evaluate their practices, but above all remember that putting safety first will keep their conscience clear.”
Tel 0130 2857019
Mick Murphy whose son Lewis, 18, was burned to death in a garage in Brighton says: “We need to act to stop greedy bosses killing our children”
Tel 07980 545109
For more information Contact
Hilda Palmer Greater Manchester Hazards Centre Tel 0161 636 7557
On Saturday Tel: 07869379722
Notes to editors:
4. THE NUMBER of people killed or injured at work is set to rise because of job losses and budget cutbacks at the government's health and safety watchdog. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is planning to shed up to 350 jobs and cut spending by £8 million by March 2008. According to experts and trade unionists, the organisation is facing an "unprecedented crisis" that will result in more accidents and more deaths.