Category Archives: 2024 UK

Britain: Powerful moments at the Unison safety seminar, Belfast

A powerful moment at UNISON Health and Safety Seminar 2024, as delegates mark #IWMD24 by observing a minute of silence to remember all those who have lost their lives at work. #uHS24

Britain: TUC 28 April video message

“On International Workers’ Memorial Day, we remember every life lost to unsafe work and commit to fighting for the health and safety of every worker.”

England/Wales events map: Remember the dead, fight for the living

TUC has published an interactive map listing 28 April events. It is being continually updated – you can  submit an event yourself or view the map here. 

More on TUC’s 28 April webpages

Britain: “I thought we had more time” – FACK statement


Families Against Corporate Killers has released the following statement to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day:

“A simple sentence written by Anthea on her husband Peter’s first missed birthday. But words which wrap within them a whole world of pain. Because, Peter had died in an incident at his workplace a matter of weeks before. Some 21 years before this, Anthea and Peter had seen their 17 year-old son Dan leave for work, and not return home. He had been sent on to a fragile roof, without supervision, less than a week into his working life. A decision by his employer which ended his all too short life. One woman should never ever have to bear such loss. When our time with our loved ones is cut so brutally short, FACK family members can remain
held captive in a moment in time… ”

“…The time is now for those employers who have not yet done so, to wake up to their responsibilities; for politicians to bolster  protections; for the climate crisis to be tackled; for regulators to be given the resources to proactively and preventatively inspect; and for future generations of loved ones to be given more time, all of their time.”

Read the full FACK statement here

UK: Hundreds of union reps will inspect workplace buildings for safety this week

Wednesday 24 April 2024

Hundreds of union reps will inspect workplace buildings for safety this week

  • More than 600 union reps are taking part in a TUC organised action to inspect their workplace buildings
  • Reps are checking for life-threatening problems like RAAC, asbestos and fire-hazards
  • The action is timed for the run-up to Workers’ Memorial Day on Sunday 28 April
  • Unions give workers the power to protect themselves, says the TUC

The TUC has organised a nationwide inspection of workplace buildings this week, with more than 600 trade union health and safety reps taking part.

Building safety has come to the fore in recent years for several reasons, including:

  • RAAC concrete: Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) was used mainly in public buildings from the 1950s to the 1990s – especially in roofs. It can be present in commercial buildings too. Its safe lifespan is only 30 years. Many buildings that contain RAAC, including lots of schools and hospitals, are now at risk of collapse.
  • Asbestos: Asbestos was widely used in building up to the year 2000. It is very widespread in workplaces across both the public and private sector built before 2000. More than 5,000 people die in Britain each year from diseases linked to asbestos exposure.
  • Workplace ventilation: The Covid pandemic revealed the importance of adequate ventilation in workplaces to prevent infections from spreading. Regulations on workplace ventilation have been permanently strengthened following the pandemic.
  • Fire safety: The cladding associated with the Grenfell Tower tragedy is still present on some office blocks, schools, and hospitals.

The TUC is calling on the government and employers to make workplace buildings safer by:

  • Publishing a national risk register, with public transparency about where hazardous building materials are located.
  • Establishing a ‘remove and improve’ plan for RAAC in public buildings and for other materials causing structural deficiencies.
  • Committing to a 40-year deadline for removing asbestos from public buildings – starting with schools – as called for by the Work and Pensions Select Committee.

The week of action on building safety is part of TUC and trade union activity for Workers’ Memorial Day on Sunday 28 April, when we remember those who lost their lives due to work-related illness or injury and commit to making all workplaces safe.

TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said:

“Everyone should be safe at work. But when some people step through the door of their workplace, they step into danger.

“This week trade unions are taking action by inspecting the safety of hundreds of workplace buildings. And we are calling on government ministers to speed up the removal of RAAC and asbestos from schools, hospitals and other public buildings.

“If you’re worried about safety at work, get together with colleagues to join a union. Unions give workers the power to protect themselves. And the health and safety reps that we train can be life-savers.”


– Extent of RAAC and asbestos in workplace buildings: The full extent of buildings containing RAAC is not yet known. However, it has already been identified in thousands of public buildings, including hundreds of schools and hospitals.

Surveys have so far found RAAC in 234 education settings, and the government says that in 119 schools one or more buildings will have to be rebuilt or refurbished. More information is here. A list of the schools where RAAC has been identified is here:

An estimated 1.5 million buildings in Britain contain asbestos. Research by the TUC and Labour Research Department has uncovered the extent of asbestos in parts of the public estate, including NHS premises in London and Scotland and English local authority buildings.

– Work and Pensions Committee recommendation on asbestos: The Committee’s report ‘The Health and Safety Executive’s approach to asbestos management’ (Sixth Report of Session 2021–22) states: “We recommend that a deadline now be set for the removal of asbestos from nondomestic buildings, within 40 years. The Government and HSE should develop and publish a strategic plan to achieve this, focusing on removing the highest risk asbestos first, and the early removal from the highest risk settings including schools.” (para 52)

– About the TUC: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together the 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.

UK: TUC leading building safety inspection drive for Workers’ Memorial Day

TUC says  “We know the risks of Raac, asbestos, poor fire safety and ventilation can be a dangerous mix. Too many of our workplaces are riddled with one or more of these. Successive governments have failed to remove and improve, and too many employers fail to properly control risk.”

So in the week leading up to Workers’ Memorial Day, TUC is taking action asking union safety reps, or reps who are responsible for health and safety as part of their role  to carry out a building safety inspection. Between Monday 22 and Sunday 29 April, union safety reps across the country will all inspect together. More than 600 reps have already signed up. More details

UK: Unison – Workers’ Memorial Day video

Unison – Workers’ Memorial Day video

UK: TUC calls on safety reps to inspect their workplaces

The UK Trades Unions Congress is calling on all union safety reps to  take part in the @TUC_Education week of action by signing up to inspect the risks in the building you work in.

More details on the Building safety inspections – week of action