Workers Memorial Day – 28 April 2014 – in the UK

The UK officially recognised for the first time on 28 April 2010 – Workers Memorial Day that commemorates the thousands of people who have been killed, disabled, seriously injured or made ill through their work.

This followed the Government’s consultation in July 2009 to explore options for official recognition of the day, which has gained widespread support.

Many other countries around the world officially recognise the Day on 28 April, the International Day of Action for Safety and Health at Work. Formal recognition will reinforce the significance of the Day.

For many years there have been memorial services held on 28 April in the UK.

Workers Memorial Day

UK Health and Safety Record

  • 1.2 million people who worked during the last year 2008/9 were suffering from an illness (long standing as well as new cases) they believed was caused or made worse by their current or past work. 551 000 of these were new cases.
  • 180 workers were killed at work, a rate of 0.6 per 100 000 workers.
  • 131 895 other injuries to employees were reported under RIDDOR, a rate of 502.2 per 100 000 employees.
  • 246 000 reportable injuries occurred, according to the Labour Force Survey, a rate of 870 per 100 000 workers.
  • 29.3 million days were lost overall (1.24 days per worker), 24.6 million due to work-related ill health and 4.7 million due to workplace injury.

These figures do not include work road-related deaths and injuries.

Further details see Health and Safety Statistics: www.hse.gov.uk/statistics

Commemorative Events

There have been an increasing number of commemorative events in the UK in recent years as Workers Memorial Day has become a focal point for bereaved families, unions, campaign organisations and local authorities among others. As more people have become involved in these events, there has been growing support for formal recognition of the Day.

Commemorations will continue to be led by individuals, employers, trade unions and community organisations. In keeping with the outcome of the consultation, the Government will encourage commemorations to be held on the day itself throughout the UK. The Government and Ministers will help support and promote these commemorations.


Quick Facts

  1. The Consultation is available at www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations/2009
  2. Workers Memorial Day originated in Canada in 1984. The day is also recognised in other countries. It is now recognised as a national day in 19 countries.
  3. Since 1989 trade unions in the UK, USA Asia, Europe and Africa have organised events on and around 28 April. This date was chosen for International Workers Memorial Day as it is the anniversary of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in the USA and also commemorates the day that 28 people were killed in a construction accident in Connecticut.
  4. Workers Memorial Day has been informally recognised in the UK since 1992.
  5. In 2001 the International Labour Organisation recognised Workers Memorial Day and announced April 28 as an International Day of Action for Safety and Health at Work, which is an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work around the globe.

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