live from 12-30pm Wednesday 28th April 2021 

Wolverhampton Workers' Memorial Day 

 28 April each year is when trade unionists remember those who die or are injured through their work and highlight how we fight for the living.

with contributions from:
Nick Kelleher, Wolverhampton, Bilston & District TUC Secretary
Warinder Juss, delegate from GMB x13
Marie Taylor, Wolverhampton, Bilston & District TUC President
Pat McFadden MP Wolverhampton South East
John Welsby, Black Country Urban Industrial Mission Chaplain
Adrian Turner, UNISON City of Wolverhampton Secretary
Michael Vaughan, UNISON Staffordshire Secretary
made with the assistance of Cnllr Beverley Momenabadi
This is the 30th year that Workers' Memorial Day has been commemorated by Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council and the Black Country Urban Industrial Mission


Theme for 2020: This year’s international theme: Coronavirus - Stop the Pandemic at work

with contributions from:

FBU: Andrew Scattergood

GMB: Warinder Juss
PCS: Debra Mills, Cnllr Clare Simm, Bob Simm

UCU: Dr Grace Millar

UNISON: Paulette Whyte, Chris Pugh, Sharon Dixon, Adrian Turner

UNITE: John Oakley, Rob Marris, Andy Taylor

Wolverhampton TUC: Marie Taylor, Nick Kelleher

Pat McFadden MP Wolverhampton SE

Black Country Urban Industrial Mission: John Welsby


 51minute film


Normal public events for April 28th were not 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.

The coronavirus pandemic affects every worker regardless of sector or locality. Tens of thousands of workers worldwide have died. More have fallen ill or continue to go to work risking their lives. Many workers are still attending work ill-equipped and without necessary safety measures in place.

We could not have a starker reminder of the important role of trade union health and safety reps in saving and protecting workers’ lives, than the current crisis we are living through.

While we may not be able to attend the memorial events which usually take place on IWMD, as public gatherings around the world are not advised or allowed; there are many ways trade union members can take part in our collective day of remembrance and solidarity. 

Workers Memorial Day is commemorated throughout the world and is officially recognised by the UK Government.

We remember those we have lost. We organise in their memory.


last year: Sunday 28 April 2019












other Workers' Memorial Day events in 2019

Birmingham – There will be a commemorative event on Friday, 26th April, at 12.30 at the memorial stone in St Phillips Cathedral, Colmore Row, Birmingham B3 2QB, with various speakers. Wreaths & TU banners welcome.

Dudley: The annual event will commence at 12.30 Sun 28 April at the Memorial Gardens, opposite the Council House. There will be a number of local speakers. All welcome.

East Staffordshire Trades Council - Sunday, 28 April 2019 from 14:00-14:30 National Memorial Arboretum, Croxall Rd, DE13 7AR Alrewas

wmd2018final front


Saturday 28th April 2018



Andrew Scattergood Fire Brigades Union Brigade Chair
Eleanor Smith MP Wolverhampton South West
Chris Cooper UNISON Safety Rep of the Year
Marie Taylor Wolverhampton TUC President
John Welsby Industrial chaplain Black Country Urban Industrial Mission

Pat McFadden MP & Emma Reynolds MP will also be in attendance. Civic flags will be lowered to half mast in respect.  Empty shoes will represent those who have lost their lives through work.


Workers Memorial Day 2018 Logo In 2018 the theme for the day is Unionised workplaces are safer workplaces and will focus the huge difference that unions make in preventing deaths in the workplace.

It is 40 years since the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations came into force.

They established the right of a recognised trade union to appoint safety representatives from among the employees it represented.
The regulations conferred number of powers to safety representatives including to investigate potential hazards and dangerous occurrences at the workplace (whether or not they are drawn to their attention by the employees they represent) and to examine the causes of accidents at the workplace.



wmd2018final back



28th April 2017

Roger Lawrence Wolverhampton Council Leader - praised joint work between UNISON the Trades Union Council and Labour Council to bring about the introduction of the Dying to Work Charter and employment protection for terminally ill employees of the council.

Full report in Express and Star


Jackie Marshall Prison Officers Association NEC - cuts in officer numbers = increase in attacks on prison officers

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Rob Marris MP Wolverhampton South West

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Nick Kelleher Secretary Wolverhampton TUC
John Welsby a chaplain on West Midlands Buses from Black Country Urban Industrial Mission Chaplain
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+ wreath laying ceremony

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The  TUC's theme was Good health and safety for all workers whoever they are and will focus on inequalities in occupational health and the role unions play in narrowing the inequalities gap;

hidden and new "gig economies", the risks faced by migrant workers and the issues of gender and class.


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TUC page for 2017 International Workers' Memorial Day can be accessed at

WMDay Wolverhampton2017 front3 






Thursday 28th April 2016 12.30pm at the Workers' Memorial Day Tree, Cenotaph, St Peters Square, Wolverhampton WV1 1TS

More than 60 people were in attendance and wreaths were laid by WB&DTUC, UCATT West Midlands, UCATT Wolverhampton, UNISON Wolverhampton General, UNISON University, Mayor & Mayoress of Wolverhampton and Thompsons Solicitors

In 2016, Stuart Baker UCATT, Warinder Juss, Thompsons solicitors (GMB) and Rev Bill Mash BCUIM (UNITE)

Nick Kelleher WB&DTUC (UNISON) also spoke on the TUC's Dying to Work Campaign 

Remember the Dead,   Fight for the Living


order these flyers now for your union branch from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The purpose behind the day has always been to "remember the dead: fight for the living" and unions are asked to focus on both areas, by considering events or memorial to remember all those killed through work but at the same time ensuring that such tragedies are not repeated.

That can best be done by building trade union organisation, and campaigning for stricter enforcement with higher penalties for breaches of health & safety laws.



Wreaths laid by Mayor & Mayoress, UNISON, UNITE, CWU, FBU, PCS, UCATT and Wolverhampton & Bilston Trades Union Council

The Civic Centre flags flown at half mast in respect.


Midlands TUC Regional Secretary, Lee Barron, said:


Workers Memorial Day is an important date in the calendar. It is a day for reflection. A day to reflect on the loss of loved ones who went to work and never returned home. And a day to reflect that thousands more who will lose their lives in 2016 as a result of simply doing their job. We will remember the dead and fight for the living.”







This year the theme for the day is:

- Strong laws

- Strong enforcement

- Strong unions


Nick Kelleher, Secretary Wolverhampton & Bilston Trades Union Council said:

Across the world we are seeing growing attacks on health and safety protection, including in Britain where the Government has removed protection from millions of self-employed workers, and across Europe where the European Commission are pursuing a dangerous de-regulatory strategy.


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.

Here in the UK the number of inspections has fallen dramatically in the past five years; however in many other countries enforcement has always been non-existent.


That is why we also need strong unions. Unionised workplaces are safer, yet the Government’s Trade Union Bill 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 purpose behind Workers' Memorial Day has always been to remember the dead, fight for the living and unions will be holding events across the Midlands to remember all those killed through work and to campaign to improve safety in the workplace today.”



All Midlands Workers Memorial Day events on 28 April:


There will be a commemoration in the City Centre at 12.30 at St Philip’s Cathedral grounds, Colmore Row, B3 2QB


Please assemble at 12.30 at Brueton Gardens, Solihull, B91 3EN


There will be an event in Town Hall Square. Please meet at 12.30. In additional to the usual floral tributes and purple ribbons there will be a release of helium balloon in black/purple to commemorate workers killed in the East Midlands over the past year.


There will be a memorial event at 12.30 at the Cenotaph, Lich Gates, WV1 1TS


The annual IWMD event will take place at 12 noon, Bayley Lane, Coventry, CV1 5RN


There is a commemoration at 12 noon at Coronation Gardens


There will be an event at St John the Baptist Church, High Street, Halesowen B63 4AF where a wreath will be laid and hopefully black balloons will be released to represent all the workers killed or injured do to their workplace. Meet outside the church at 11:30.


The annual Worker’s Memorial Day Service will commence at 12.30pm at St Peter’s Church, St Peter's Square, Nottingham NG1 2NW


Meet at 12 noon, by St Matthew’s at the Memorial Stone & tree, Market WS1 3DG.


A workers memorial service will be held at- St Peter’s church, Derby City centre (opposite BHS) at 10:30 until 11:30.


Congregate at 12 noon at 44 Patchwork Row, Shirebrook NG20 8AL and then march to the Market Square to mark Workers Memorial Day.  Banners are welcome.

East Staffs

Meet at 11:30 for a 12:00 service at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, DE13 7AR (by the memorial tree and plaque) followed by a social event at Burton Caribbean Association, Uxbridge Street from 13:00






Wolverhampton Workers' Memorial day 2016 event listings:










55 attended our 24th annual commemoration in association with the Black Country Urban Industrial Mission on Tuesday 28th April 2015

Report by Express & Star here.....

In 2015 the theme for the day was "removing exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace".

Hazardous substances are found in almost every workplace in the UK and many workers have no protection against the possible effects, despite the fact that tens of thousands of workers have their health destroyed by asthma, dermatitis, lung disorders and cancers because of exposures. In addition to hazardous substances, many unions and trades councils will be campaigning on the general theme of demanding better regulation, greater inspections and an end to the anti-health and safety rhetoric from the government and their allies in the press.


Angela Eagle MP, Chair of Labour National Policy Forum and a member of the Labour NEC

Sean Lee Midlands Secretary UCATT, the union for workers in the construction sector

Rob Marris UNITE & LP general election candidate Wolverhampton South West

Rev. Bill Mash, Diocesan Officer for Mission in the Economy, Black Country Urban Industrial Mission

Marie Taylor, UNITE & President WB&DTUC  

& wreath laying ceremony





Workers Memorial Day is commemorated throughout the world and is officially recognised by the UK Government.







The purpose behind Workers' Memorial Day has always been to "remember the dead: fight for the living" and unions will be holding events across the Midlands to remember all those killed through work and to campaign to improve safety in the workplace today.

Over 20,000 people die every year because of their work, with most of these deaths being related to exposure to dangerous substances. This year the theme for workers memorial day is "removing exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace". Hazardous substances are found in almost every workplace in the UK and many workers have no protection against the possible effects, despite the fact that tens of thousands of workers have their health destroyed by asthma, dermatitis, lung disorders and cancers because of exposures.

In addition, campaigners will be campaigning on the general theme of better regulation, greater inspections and an end to the anti-health and safety rhetoric.

Midlands TUC Regional Secretary, Lee Barron, said:

“Workers Memorial Day is an important date in the calendar. It is a day for reflection. A day to reflect on the loss of loved ones who went to work and never returned home. And a day to reflect that thousands more who will lose their lives in 2015 as a result of simply doing their job.

The Midlands TUC will mark Workers Memorial Day by holding a Health and Safety Conference to examine the challenges that workers face today and will be joining the commemoration at St Philip’s Cathedral.

We will remember the dead and fight for the living.”


WORKERS' MEMORIAL DAY 2015 events in the Midlands:

Birmingham 12.30 p.m. Grounds of  St Philip's Cathedral, Colmore Row, B3 2QB

Birmingham: 10:00–15:30. Health and Safety Conference at Transport House, 211 Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1AY. During lunch, delegates will join the event in the grounds of St. Phillip’s Cathedral

Derby: Meet at 10:30am at St Peter’s Church, St Peter’s Street, Derby  for a service of prayer, thanksgiving and commemoration

Leicester: 12 Noon. Meet at Leicester Town Hall Square.  The event will start with 1 minutes silence in respect of all those who have lost their lives due to work.  Speakers will include representatives from UCATT, UNITE, the Lord Mayor and politicians Jon Ashworth and Keith Vaz.

Lincoln: Meet by the steps near City Square in the city centre. This year's rally will take place by the WMD tree from 12noon

Solihull, Meet at 12.30 p.m. Brueton Gardens (opposite Barley Mow pub)

Wolverhampton: 12.30pm. Meet at the Cenotaph, St Peter's Square Wolverhampton WV1 1TS. Speakers & Wreath Laying Ceremony

Wolverhampton TUC's 24th annual event Tuesday 28th April 12.30pm Cenotaph, St Peter's Sq Wolverhampton WV1 1TS

Walsall Tuesday 28th April

Corby: Saturday 25th April, 11.00am, Steel Worker Statue, Outside of The Cube, Corby




The Midlands TUC, in association with Derbyshire Asbestos Support Group, Thompsons Solicitors and Asbestos Support West Midlands, will be holding a Health & Safety conference in Birmingham. The details of which are;

TUC Midlands Health & Safety Conference

10am, Tuesday 28th April 2015

Unite the Union, Transport House, Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1DE

Guest Speaker: Steve Murphy, General Secretary of UCATT

The conference will lead discussions on;

-          Workers’ Memorial Day – Raising Awareness

-          Changes to H&S Legislation – Thompsons Solicitors

-          Asbestos Victims Support Group – Doug Jewell

-          Health & Safety and the Industrial Agenda – Yvonne Washbourne

-          Stress Busting, Tackling Workplace Stress – Mick Brightman, Unionlearn

A lunch will be provided and during our lunch break delegates will be asked to make their way to the Workers’ Memorial Event in the Grounds of St. Phillip’s Cathedral, Colmore Row, Birmingham, with Steve Murphy for the short service and Steve’s address to the event.

This is the first of what will become an annual event by the Midlands TUC and we do hope that you will be able to join us.

To register for the event please contact Michelle on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and if you have any queries please do not hesitate to get in touch.




Monday 28th April  2014  @12.30pm at the Cenotaph, St Peter's Square Wolverhampton WV1 1TS   

60 people came to Wolverhampton 23rd annual Workers' Memorial Day 

Report here


Stuart Baker UCATT,

Satinder Bains Irwin Mitchell solicitors, 

Rob Marris LP prospective parliamentary candidate W’ton SW, 

Rev. Bill Mash, Industrial Chaplain, 

Nick Kelleher, Secretary WB&DTUC  & wreath laying ceremony



 what is workers memorial day



Wolverhampton' 23rd annual Workers' Memorial Day 28 April 2014

Work – its existence or absence, helps define a person.

If we're lucky, it brings in enough to pay the bills. If we're really lucky we have work which we enjoy.

Work also helps make a place. Our industrial past has shaped this town. And all the people who work in Wolverhampton make it the town we're proud of now whether we're council or health workers, factory workers or teachers, builders, posties, carers or fire-fighters.

It's tragic then, when work brings about the end of life; when it contributes to the breakdown of families & fracturing of communities. But it should never be an expected part of working life.

Sadly, Wolverhampton has seen its fair share of such tragedy – from the days of our industrial past to more recent workplace accidents.

Last year, the government said 148 Britons died in their workplace; 14 in the West Midlands and three from Wolverhampton:  [reference 1]


  • Trevor Bagshaw, 68, a self employed industrial machinery installer fell from height and died

  • William Price, 63, a self employed car mechanic died following a fire

  • Mohammed Yasin, 37, a waste management employee was trapped by machinery and died

But it's estimated that another 79 people died early in Wolverhampton from job-related injuries and illnesses last year. [reference 2]


That's 82 local families missing more than just a breadwinner – missing their father or son, mother or daughter. Local communities bear the knock on effects – the grief, mental health problems, and financial & social pressures.

Over a million working people in Britain are currently suffering from a workplace illness.

More people die at work every year around the world than in wars.

That's why we all have a responsibility to show H&S as more than just a nice add-on to everyday business, or a bureaucratic tick list to be checked.

We must ALL take responsibility for ourselves and those around us, for making sure we look after one another and don't make work a risky business.

We can achieve this when we are organised in the workplace, when we join together in trade unions to campaign for safer working conditions.

Trade Unions have a long, proud history of not only helping their members when tragedy and hardship strike, but also of using our collective voice to ensure that these awful accidents never happen in the first place.

The ConDem government however, is happy to put profit before people.

Due to government cuts, the H&S Executive can only prosecute 1 in a thousand breaches of H&S law. [reference3]. Council cuts will cut inspections and prosecutions.

They believe our H&S laws are red tape.  Better red tape than red bandages. 

So today we join with others holding commemorations in Walsall, Dudley, Stoke, Birmingham & around the world to remember those who have been killed, made ill, or injured by their own or someone else's work.

And we renew our commitment to demanding safe and healthy work for all.

Let us remember the dead and fight for the living.

– Nick Kelleher [reference 4] 


Reference 1 - and


Reference 2- 2011 Census: Wolverhampton & United Kingdom Population Estimates and

20,000 work-related deaths


Wolverhampton population (249,500) / UK population (63.2million) x 20,000 deaths = 79 estimated premature deaths in Wolverhampton due to work.


Reference 3 - Lords Hansard 14 Jan 2013 Column GC160 Baroness Donaghy

Reference 4 -article has been heavily quoted from a 2013 WMDay speech by Dan Jarvis MP for Barnsley



Workers and families of people killed and injured by work love red tape because it’s far better than the alternative which is even more bloody bandages and workers made sick often to death.  We all know no-one died of too much regulation and enforcement but from far too little. Their pointless red tape is our lifeline and especially for young people who are at more risk.

IWMD is a day to utterly reject the government’s business-led destruction of health and safety regulation and enforcement based on the lie that it is a ‘burden on business’, useless red tape strangling business. David Cameron has called health and safety an albatross and a millstone round the neck of business, and made it his New Year resolution to kill off health and safety culture.  Despite all the evidence that there is no such burden on business but a massive burden on the individuals hurt and their families, and on the public purse, this government has used rigged reviews to support their slashing of health and safety regulation and enforcement by cutting the HSE’s budget and role, number of inspectors and inspections, cut regulations and rubbished the system that protects workers from safety and health risks at every opportunity.

Our health and our safety is under attack like never before.  All that we have now in terms of safer and healthier working condition was hard won by the collective action of generations of workers and their trade unions over the last 50 to 150 years, is under threat, and standards are being driven backwards.  Work is now more intense, harder, longer, and with a ruined safety net.  We are in a fight for our lives and we must defend health and safety for our own sake and that of our children and grandchildren who will have to work until they are 67 and beyond before they can retire. 

In 2014, after nearly 4 years of economic recession and specific government attacks on health and safety workers and the public are at much greater risk of being hurt by work than ever before.  But because of cuts in scrutiny and reporting of injuries, diseases and incidents, we are even less likely to know or hear about it in the press/media. So use IWMD to get our message out: we need health and safety red tape and unions to protect us!

“We Love Red Tape – it’s  better than bloody bandages”



WORKERS' MEMORIAL DAY events in the Midlands:

Wolverhampton TUC's 23nd annual event

Monday 28th April 12.30pm Cenotaph, St Peter's Sq Wolverhampton WV1 1TS

Birmingham -12.30pm - St Philips Cathedral Grounds Colmore Row B3 2QB

Solihull - 12.30pm Brueton Gardens B91 3DL (opp Barley Mow Pub)



TUC guide on the importance of H&S reps

International Workers' Memorial Day originated in Canada. 28 April was chosen for International Workers Memorial Day as it is the anniversary of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in the USA and also commemorates the day that 28 people were killed in a construction incident in Connecticut.
Since 1989 trade unions in the USA, UK, Asia, Europe and Africa have organised events on and around 28 April.
IWMD was adopted by Wolverhampton TUC in 1991, by the Scottish TUC in 1993, followed by the TUC in 1999 and UK government in 2010

The Labour council lowers the Civic flags to half mast, something the Tory/Liberal coalition failed to do when in charge of the council.

Click HERE for details of other events in Britain and background to Workers' Memorial Day from the TUC.


What's Workers Memorial Day? 

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 takes place every April 28th - as an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.

The slogan for the day is:   "Remember the Dead,  Fight for the Living"

The trade union movement "remembers the dead", by organising memorial events all over Britain.  It is supported by both the TUC and the government's Health & Safety Commission.  Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council and the Black Country Urban Industrial Mission have held events since 1992.

We must also "fight for the living" by ensuring that such tragedies are not repeated:

  • highlight the preventable nature of most workplace accidents and ill health.
  • promote campaigns and union organisation in the fight for improvements in workplace safety.

It is a FACT that you are less likely to get injured or killed in a workplace covered by one of Britain's 200,000 trade union H&S reps.


Greater Manchester Hazards has produced a number of resources see them here

For Background to Workers Memorial Day:

For Safety Reps Guide to Workers Memorial Day:

For We Love Red Tape leaflet summarizing government attacks, lies and the truth:

Many relevant Hazards Magazine articles can be found on

See especially: “It’s your choice Red Tape or more bloody bandages”:

‘Business says deregulate: The government will obey!’:

Order Form for Ribbons: Purple Forget-me-knot ribbons £30 per hundred inc. p&p:

Order Form for ‘Union Workplaces are Safer Workplaces’ car sticker price £30 per hundred:

Order Form for Stationery/lapel stickers for events or mailings: sheets of 12 labels 60p plus p&p

Order Form for ‘We didn’t vote to die at Work’ and ‘Stop it You’re Killing Us’  T-shirts  sizes s,m,l,.xl,xxl,xxxl and limited number of children’s sizes. Great for those organising and speaking at events, staffing stalls, stewarding marches.

We still have some stocks of ‘We didn’t vote to die at Work’ and ‘Job Killer’ see images at  

FREE POSTERS The 2014 Workers' Memorial Day poster will be on the next Hazards magazine and  is available in A 3 and A4 - send your postal address and the number of each size you want to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  We would appreciate donations or sponsorship of Hazards 2014 Conference to help cover the postage!



Globally every year more people are killed at work than in wars – a minimum of 2.3 million worldwide the International Labour Organisation estimates.

In the UK the Hazards Campaign estimates that in 2012/13  over 1,400 are killed in work-related incidents and up to 50,000 died from work-related diseases (cancers 18,000 [12% of total], heart disease 20,000 [20% of total], lung and other diseases 12.000 [15-20% of total] ). 

Hazards Estimates: 140 people a day or 6 per hour are killed by work in Great Britain per year compare this with:  532 murders last year and 620 British soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan over 11 years.


e.g. Workers' Memorial Day ’Forget-Me-Knot’ Ribbons £30 per 100
Workers' Memorial Day car sticker size 210mm x 60mm £25 per 100
enclose payment with order; cheques payable to:
‘Greater Manchester Hazards Centre Ltd', Windrush Millennium Centre,  70 Alexandra Road, Manchester M16 7WD   Bulk orders negotiable – Tel 0161 636 7557



Over a dozen trades union councils organised Workers Memorial day events in the Midlands 2013.

WMDay13 wolverhampton
60 attended Wolverhampton's 22nd annual commemoration event; wreaths were laid by FBU, UNISON General, UNISON University, UCATT, PCS, CWU & WB&DTUC
Ivan Monkton UNITE NEC spoke on Agricultural Workers' safety and the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board and it's affect on rural poverty.
Warinder Juss (GMB/Thompsons) called for the defeat of the government in order to re-establish the basic health and safety rights that the Tories and Liberals have already cut or still plan to.
Marie Taylor (CYW-UNITE & President WB&DTUC) remembered the 350 so far found dead at the Bangladesh garment factory that had been producing for Primark, Matalan and Mango UK stores.
Rob Marris (NUT) lambasted the governmemnt's announced threat to the Health & Safety Executive and delivered a speech by Steve Witton (UCATT) highlighting the high level of construction industry deaths
Rev.Bill Mash of the Black Country Urban Industrial Mission gave a sermon particularly remembering those affected by industrial disease.

Remember the Dead,   Fight for the Living 






21st annual commemeration  held  Saturday 28th April  2012


Over 40 attended. Speakers: Nick Kelleher Secretary WB&DTUC, Steve Witton Secretary Wolverhampton UCATT, Emma Reynolds Labour MP Wolverhampton NE and Rev Bill Marsh, BCUIM


2012 national leaflet



 Local 2012 Workers' Memorial Day events:

Friday 27th April

@12noon Dudley TUC: Coronation Gardens, Priory Road, DY1 1HF

@ 12.30pm  Solihull, Brueton Gardens, by Barley Mow


Saturday 28th April @ 12 noon 

Coventry TUC: Peace Garden, Bayley Lane CV1 5RJ

Walsall TUC: o/s St.Matthew’s church, market  WS1 3DG

Saturday 28th April @ 12.30pm

Birmingham TUC: St Philip’s Churchyard, Colmore Row B3 2QB

Wolverhampton TUC: St Peter’s Sq WV1 1TS



2011  - between 50 and 60 attended the  20th annual commemoration.

Nick Kelleher, Secretary of Wolverhampton & Bilston Trades Union Council spoke. Vera Kelsey of CWU read a poem Empty Shoes on behalf of the Womens' TUC. Wreaths laid by WB&DTUC, CWU, UNISON General, UNISON University, PCS and UNITE. Readings by Industrial Chaplain Rev. Peter Sellick and Roberta Maxfield of the Black Country Urban Industrial Mission.

Purple Workers' Memorial Day ribbons were given out to 75 people attending the 28th April event in 2010, Wolverhampton's 19th annual event. CLICK HERE for the 2010 flyer.  
speakers were: Nick Kelleher, WB&DTUC,  Warinder Juss (GMB) of Thompsons' Solicitors,  Rev. Ruth Reynolds-Tyson, Industrial Chaplain,  Emma Reynolds GMB, Labour candidate W'ton NE. There was a wreath laying ceremony with PCS, CWU, WB&DTUC & UNISON amongst those laying wreaths and a balloon release to commemorate those who had died in the West Midlands through accidents at work.   
Bigger than usual turnout for Workers Memorial Day 28th April 2009  - Wolverhampton's 18th annual Workers' Memorial Day organised by Wolverhampton, Bilston & District Trades Union Council & the Black Country Urban Industrial Mission. 2.7million working days were lost last year in the West Midlands last year due to workplace injuries. 

60 people attended with more passers by also stopping.

speakers were:

Þ Doug Jewell Asbestos Support Group West Midlands

Þ Industrial Chaplain,     Rev. Ruth Reynolds-Tyson

Þ wreath laying ceremony

 Remember the Dead,         Fight for the Living          Click here for our leaflet

In Britain 233 workers were killed in their workplace; 22(revised figures) were from the West Midlands. Shoes representing the dead were laid out.

2,056 people died from mesothelioma (cancer due to asbestos), thousands more from occupational cancers and lung diseases, or while commuting.


Asbestos Support West Midlands

Help people suffering from asbestos related diseases and campaigns to end the asbestos trade.

 0121 678 8853

Below an article published in Safety and Health Practitioner  in December 2008 -The Whole Truth- 
The Whole Story by Hilda Palmer – speaking truth to power!
Although IOSH, the HSE, and others are working hard to debunk the many myths surrounding health and safety, the biggest ‘untruth’ is the claim that only ‘200-odd’ people are killed in the UK by work each year. Hilda Palmer, of the Hazards Campaign, argues that the true figures for work-related deaths, injuries, and ill health are many, many times higher. 
Every year, on Workers’ Memorial Day (28 April), the Hazards Campaign makes the case that the evidence supports a figure of up to seven times as many deaths caused by work incidents as that officially cited by the HSE. The regulator’s headline figure is limited to those deaths reported to it and to local authorities. It does not include those from other enforcement agencies, such as the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and excludes members of the public and also those killed by occupational illness.
A more realistic estimate, which includes work-related road-traffic deaths and suicides attributed to work-related stress, is 1500-1600 a year. (For more than ten years, the Hazards Campaign has demanded that work-related road-traffic deaths are reported under RIDDOR, added to the official death-at-work statistics, and brought under the protocol for investigating work-related deaths. In recent years we have been joined in this call by the TUC, trades unions, the Centre for Corporate Accountability, RoSPA, and IOSH.) 
But even that figure is the tip of the iceberg; if we include the many thousands who die from illnesses caused by their working conditions the total could be as high as 50,000 a year! 
Using the evidence-based estimates of work-related harm provided by various researchers would ensure the appropriate policy development and allocation of resources. Failing to expose the impact of employers’ non-compliance and criminal negligence on our health and our lives serves only to support the Treasury in capping and cutting funding to the enforcement agencies. It also adds fuel to the deregulators at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), who view health and safety as an unnecessary burden on employers, and gives support to the media ‘conkers bonkers’ hype about health and safety law and enforcement being excessive. 
More importantly, it underestimates the actual risk workers face, and wrongly suggests we can safely rely solely on employers, when the reality is that far more workers suffer appalling working conditions that put them at risk of injury, death or illness, at huge cost to themselves, their families, and the economy. Far from being complacent about the health and safety record in this country, we need to be honest and open, and examine what is really going on. 
As the chair of the HSE branch of the Prospect union, Neil Hope-Collins, put it: “Until the government and society acknowledge the true impact of failing to manage and regulate occupational health and safety, our members working in the enforcing authorities will struggle for the recognition, funding, and support needed to help save workers’ lives.”
Exclusion zone
Earlier this year, the HSE released the provisional fatal injury figures for 2007/08, which claimed 229 workers lost their lives as a result of accidents/incidents at work in 2007/08, compared with 247 in 2006/07, and that four people die at work every week in Great Britain.1 This implies the figure is a total for all those killed in work-related incidents, but we would argue that the true figure is nearer to four people killed a day. The HSE fails to mention that not all workers killed in all workplaces are included here, nor that those dying from work-related illness are excluded but it is at least honest about the fact that the figures don’t include road-traffic accidents involving at-work drivers that resulted in deaths, nor deaths from industrial diseases, which is an improvement on previous years.
But the HSE figures also exclude another important group – non-workers killed by work activities. The Hazards Campaign argues that the figures should include members of the public killed by a work activity, such as a scaffold collapse, train crashes, and work-related road-traffic accidents. Such incidents should be included as part of measuring the overall state of health and safety, and the risk work activities pose to the general public. 
In 2007/08, the HSE recorded 358 deaths of members of the public. More than two thirds of these (263) were due to suicide, or trespass on to railways. Even taking these out of the equation, this would leave 95 deaths to be added to the 229 worker deaths, giving a sub-total of 324. To this should be added the number killed in road-traffic accidents involving ‘at work’ vehicles recorded by the Police, which the HSE, Department for Transport, and RoSPA estimate as 1000 a year.2 This brings the running total to 1324. 
To that should be added deaths in coastal waters investigated by the Marine Accident Investigation Board– such as in fishing, tug work – and those reported to the Civil Aviation Authority, which, from press reports, we estimate to be about 30 a year. Furthermore, there are approximately 5000 suicides among working-age people in the UK each year, and a number of those involve workers driven to despair by work-related stress. In Japan, where work-related suicides are officially recognised and compensated, they estimate 5 per cent of suicides to be work-related, which, if applied to the UK, would be about 250. An analysis in Australia of suicide causes over the decade to 2000 would suggest a UK figure in excess of 100 work-related suicides a year.3
Accounting for work-related suicides and adding them to the running total gives a rounded-up estimate of 1500 to 1600 work-related deaths a year, which is six to seven times the HSE headline figure and more than the annual total of murders.4
Ill informed
Turning to deaths due to occupational illness, the HSE does not report a figure for such deaths but the latest health and safety statistics (for 2007/08) state that “every year, thousands of people die from work-related diseases”.5 These are itemised as: work-related cancer deaths in excess of 6000, of which about 4000 are due to asbestos; 111 deaths from asbestosis; 182 from pneumoconiosis; and around 4000 from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Adding these together gives an HSE estimate of deaths from work-related diseases of 10,293. 
For many years, the HSE has claimed that a 1981 paper, ‘Causes of cancer’, by Richard Doll and Richard Peto,6 is the ‘best available estimate’ of work-related cancer. This report claims 4 per cent of all total cancer deaths can be attributed to work-related causes, and this is behind the figure of 6000 deaths a year in Great Britain. Prolonged campaigning by Hazards magazine, and by trades unions, based on research by some of the world’s leading epidemiology experts that a much higher proportion of cancers are work-related, has resulted in the HSE commissioning epidemiologist Dr Lesley Rushton to carry out a review of the burden of occupational cancer. Although not yet complete, her work has already revealed ‘4 per cent’ as a significant underestimate.7
Evidence suggests that the annual death rate could be more than twice that of even the larger of the HSE‘s figures. Dr Richard Clapp, the author of a 2005 review of the causes of occupational and environmental cancer, estimates that the probable range of occupational cancer deaths is 8-16 per cent.8 Applying the mid-range of 12 per cent to all cancer deaths in Great Britain therefore gives an estimate of 18,000 work-related cancer deaths a year.
A 2005 paper in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine suggests that 15-20 per cent of COPD deaths could be work-related,9 which equates to around 6000 deaths. Meanwhile, Hazards magazine estimates that up to 20 per cent of all heart-disease deaths have a work-related cause – for example, stress, long hours, shift work – which is about 20,000 a year.10
For all those diseases to which work can be a contributory cause, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Motor-Neurone Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, chemical neurotoxicity, auto-immune conditions, and restrictive lung diseases, a further conservative estimate of about 6000 deaths a year can be made. All of this adds up to an overall Hazards estimate of deaths from work-related illness of up to 50,000 a year, or more than four times the official HSE figure.
It could be argued that the occupational-disease deaths are based on the working conditions of up to 40 years ago, as cancers such as mesothelioma have up to 40-year latency periods, but many cancers and most other occupational illnesses have a much shorter latency. Our contention is that the HSE figures grossly underestimate the number of workers whose current working conditions expose them to both the well-known and the newer risk factors, which will produce the worker deaths of the future. 
For example, for Great Britain, the European Union’s CAREX database of occupational exposure to carcinogens estimated that, in the early 1990s, about 5 million workers (22 per cent of the employed) were exposed to carcinogens.11 These days, we also have an ever-increasing number of workers subjected to long hours, bullying and harassment, and shift work. About 20 per cent of workers are in precarious work, which is known to cause stress, heart and circulatory diseases, while far too many workers are still routinely exposed to dusts and chemicals that cause respiratory illnesses and contribute to heart disease. 
Rooted in reality
It is therefore essential that we use the best evidence-based picture of the real state of work and its effects on workers’ lives and health in order to target resources and harness political will to tackle all the causes of injury and ill health. The lessons currently being learnt in the financial sector about acknowledging the scale of the problem and the inadequacy of ‘light touch’ and ‘limited’ regulation need to be applied in all places where there is a likelihood of people becoming ill, injured, or worse. 
1 HSE (2008): Health and Safety Statistics 2007/08 –
3 ‘Crying Shame?’ in Hazards 101 Jan/March 2008, pp8-9 –
4 Tombs, Prof S and Whyte, Dr D (2008): ‘A crisis of enforcement: the decriminalisation of death and injury at work’ – Centre for Criminal Justice Briefing, 6 June 2008
5 HSE (2008): Health and Safety Statistics 2007/08 –
6 Doll, R and Peto, R (1981): ‘The causes of cancer: Quantitative estimates of avoidable risks of cancer in the United States today,’ in Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol.66, No 6, pp1191-1308
7 Rushton, Dr L, Imperial College London (2007): The Burden of Occupational Cancer in Great Britain (HSE Research Report 595) –
8 Clapp, Dr R et al (2005): ‘Environmental and occupational causes of cancer: A review of recent scientific literature, UMASS Lowell, September 2005 –; and ‘Burying the evidence’, in Hazards 92, Oct/Dec 2005, pp4-5
9 Meldrum, M and others: ‘The role of occupation in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)’, in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol.62, pp212-214
10 Hazards (2005): ‘Job to Die for?’ in Hazards 92, Oct/Dec 2005, pp18-19
11 Kauppinen, T and others (2000): ‘ Occupational exposure to carcinogens in the European Union’, in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol.57, pp10-18