Workers’ Memorial Day: reflecting on workplace health and safety
27 April 2007
Workers’ Memorial Day is a good time for employers and workers to reflect on health and safety at work and how they can prevent injury, illness and death, the Department of Labour said.
“Everyone has a part to play in promoting safe, productive workplaces,” said Maarten Quivooy, Group Manager Workplace Services.
Workers’ Memorial Day is commemorated on 28 April worldwide every year, to remember and honour the people who have been killed, diseased or injured at work.
“Every time someone is injured or killed at work, it takes its toll on family, friends, co-workers and communities. What is particularly disheartening to see is that so many of the incidents that occur are easily preventable,” Mr Quivooy said.
“Good health and safety practices also make good business sense. The loss of a worker is a loss for the employer, and for the company. People are far more likely to work well and productively in a safe, secure, healthy environment.”
In 2005/2006, there were 60 investigations into the deaths of workers. In the financial year to date, there have so far been 31 investigations.
“Added to that, each year many people are injured or become ill as a result of unsafe work practices,” Mr Quivooy said.
“We can do a lot better, if everyone – from individuals and businesses to industry groupings - pulls their weight. The Department of Labour’s role is to continue to inform and support business and industry, to encourage firms to have health and safety representatives among their workers, and to hold people to account when they choose to disregard their obligations under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.”
Workers’ Memorial Day coincides with the International Labour Organisation’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work, which also falls on 28 April.