news release



no embargo - 29 January 2010Back to news releases)

FACK welcomes the good news of government’s recognition of Workers Memorial Day and hopes they will now act more forcefully to protect the living ‘Remember the Dead’ and ‘Fight for the Living’

FACK (1)  welcomes the government’s recognition (2) that work kills thousands and harms many more, each and every year in the UK.  We are glad the government took on board many of the points we made in our response to the consultation and feel it is only right and fitting that all those, like members of our families, who were killed simply for going to work, should be properly remembered each year on 28th April on Workers’ Memorial Day.  That is why we ‘Remember the Dead’ by wearing the purple ‘forget me knot’ ribbon  R  and speaking about our experiences at events across the UK. 

FACK also wants the government to follow through on the second half of the purpose of Workers Memorial Day which is to ‘Fight for the Living’,  by implementing positive legal duties on directors for health and safety which has won backing in Rita Donaghy’s ‘One Death is too many’ report into construction deaths, and the Select Committee Report on the DWP.   This measure, plus funding a much more rigorous,  preventative enforcement regime, more proportionate penalties, and more protection for workers and their safety reps, would help to prevent deaths at work most of which could have, and should have been prevented.

 However Linzi Herbertson a founder member of  FACK says:

We want ALL those killed by work either in incidents or through illnesses caused by bad working conditions, to be remembered.  FACK members cannot understand why some workers killed at sea, or in the air, or on the roads, or through work stress suicide, plus all the members of the public killed by work activities, are not included in the ‘official figures’.  Minister Yvette Cooper said in the announcement yesterday that ‘official figures show that 180 people were killed at work last yea.’.  This figure is not even the total of those killed in work related incidents: 180 is only the number of workers killed at work which are reported to the HSE and Local Authorities under RIDDOR, and it excludes all those workers killed while working but whose deaths are reported to other authorities.  For example the 16 workers killed when their helicopter crashed into the sea off Aberdeen in April 2009, and the 6 workers killed in Morecambe Bay crash in December 2006 would not be included in the ‘official figures’. Add in the 1,000 nationally killed in work- related road traffic incidents, members of the public killed by work activities, suicides due to work, and we estimate the total may be up to 1.500 per year in incidents(3.  That some workers lives apparently do not count to the government and HSE is unacceptable to us, disrespectful to their families, and cannot be allowed to continue.  It’s time to come clean about the real extent of work-related harm and its almost totally avoidable nature and for government to subject employers to stringent enforcement action and directors held to account for their decisions.’’

FACK also feel  the ‘official figures’ undercount the numbers dying from work-related illness which are estimate as up to 50,000 per year. It is illogical to discount any worker killed at or by work, but much worse it underestimates the harm caused by work, and so reduces resources and policy priority allocated to take action.  This puts all workers at much greater risk and perpetuates the myth that most workers are safer at work than they really are. 


Contact Linzi Herbertson or Hilda Palmer 0161 636 7557  or 07929800240
1.      FACK see
2.      DWP -The UK will officially recognise Workers Memorial Day to commemorate thousands of people who have died, been seriously injured or made ill through their work, Yvette Cooper announced today.
3.      Safety and Health Practitioner  in December 2009 -The Whole Story by Hilda Palmer GMHC