Two-thirds exposed to harmful substances, study shows
To mark Workers' Memorial Day 2015, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) conducted a study of 500 workers in the UK, with results indicating that 71 per cent experience a risk of harm or exposure to harmful substances.
The range of hazards includes viruses, fungi, dangerous gases and chemicals, radiation sources and biological agents.
Workers' Memorial Day was commemorated for the 23rd year and is a worldwide event. In 2015, the day fell just after the second anniversary of the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, where nearly 1,200 workers died.
According to the general secretary of the TUC, Frances O'Grady, the survey acted as a reminder that a large number of workers in the UK are exposed to a variety of harmful substances, often on a daily basis.
He added that the result of this was long-term ill health for hundreds of thousands and death for thousands of workers. According to O'Grady, these could be prevented by the removal of the substances from the work environment or, where this isn't possible, regulating and enforce the use of safety equipment, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and workwear.
Events took place around the UK, with those who lost their lives at work being remembered.
One such event was held at the Tower of London, where wreaths were placed at the foot of the Building Worker statue. The Rana Plaza factory collapse acts as a stark reminder that workplace safety is crucial to protect lives.