Many speakers drove home the message that this is not a issue just for countries like Bangladesh and China, it is still very much an issue here. By the very lowest estimates, over 20,000 people die prematurely in the UK every year because of their work – and the true figure is likely to be much higher. Almost half of these die as a result of cancers, but another 4,000 are killed by other lung diseases. Yet most of these deaths could be avoided if employers simply obeyed existing laws.
So in a year when we have seen the biggest reduction in health and safety inspection activity in living memory, let us remember that Workers Memorial Day is not just a sombre day of reflection and respect. It is also a day for Rage! Rage over all the needless deaths that are being caused now and in the future by government policies that either turn a blind eye to wrong-doing or even encourage it.
Whether it is in Bangladesh or Britain, the problem is the same. So is the solution!