Tribute to the ‘Unknown Worker’

21 Apr 2010

TRUST helps and supports anyone who has been injured or made ill by work and also supports their families of victims who have been killed by work.  TRUST helps to provide advocacy support and signposting for benefits and civil compensation advice.

This will be the first year that WMD day is officially recognised by the Government. 

Government, through their agency the Health and Safety Executive, give a very skewed and limited picture of the damage done by work every year. They say 180 people die in workplace incidents and 8,000 die from workplace cancers when the true figures are much higher and the overall picture much grimmer.

Campaigning organisations such as TRUST state “A more realistic estimate should include work-related road-traffic deaths, as well as suicides that can be attributed to work-related stress.  If such tragic deaths are taken into account the figure would be around 1500-1600 work related deaths per year. But even these figures are 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!”

Bolsover area was a heavy mining and industrial area.  Many miners have lost their lives through working in the pit or as a result of the chronic diseases such as emphysema and pneumoconiosis.

Bolsover workers were also exposed to the deadly material – asbestos which causes debilitating and terminal illnesses such as asbestosis and a rapidly fatal cancer – mesothelioma. 

In 2009 the Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team (DAST) helped and supported   9 former workers in Bolsover suffering from mesothelioma. 

Shay Boyle, GMB branch secretary in Chesterfield, stated “The day reminds us that thousands of local workers have lost their lives by merely going to work. Many of these deaths were preventable and these workers should not be forgotten.”

Many workers today are subjected to stress of working long hours or bullying in the workplace, particularly in today’s uncertain climate with constant redundancies and job losses.

Natalie Woodward, Development Worker for DAST stated “The day helps to raise awareness of the dangers of workplace hazards, such as asbestos.  Many maintenance and construction workers are still at risk from exposure to asbestos.”

The event will take place on Friday 30th April 2010 starting at Shirebrook church at 10.30am with a procession to the market place.  The coffin will be blessed by the Rev John Hargreaves as we remember all those who have died from workplace accidents or illnesses.  The blessing will be followed by speeches from Trade Unions who have lost members as a result of workplace accidents or illness. 

For more information contact Joanne Carlin or Shay Boyle on 01623 748161