More workplace fatalities in south west on cards if he...

More workplace fatalities in south west on cards if health & safety cut, Unite warns

20 April 2016

Attempts by Tory ministers and unscrupulous bosses to dilute or circumvent health and safety legislation in the south west must be resisted as the region has already seen two workplace fatalities so far this year.

This is the core message that will be the theme of this year’s International Workers Memorial Day in Bristol, organised by the Bristol Trades Council on Thursday 28 April.

Hundreds of people are expected to march from Tony Benn House, Victoria Street BS16AY, assembling at 12.30, to Castle Park.

Health and Safety Executive statistics for the south west for 2014-2015 (the latest year that figures are fully available) show that there were 19 fatal injuries to workers. There were seven fatalities in 2015 and two this year. The period 2012/2015 saw 2,360 non-fatal injuries. In 2014/2015, 79 cases against employers were prosecuted.

Unite regional secretary for the south west Peter Hughes will say: “Tory ministers driven by ideology, coupled with unscrupulous bosses trying to circumvent the regulations, are putting the lives of workers at risk. This is not acceptable in 2016.
“It is a fact that unionised workplaces are safer, yet the government is hell-bent on trying to block unions from protecting the health and safety of our members.

“Unite recognises that there are employers who neglect the safety of their workforces, so we assiduously campaign for stronger laws and enforcement action to fight these abuses in the south west. 

“If the government continues to battle with unions protecting their members in the workplace, by limiting the training provided to health and safety representatives and reducing the right to strike, we will see more deaths in the workplace.

“International Workers’ Memorial Day is about recognising the loss of those who don’t make it home at the end of their working day. It’s a hard fact to swallow that more people are killed in work than in wars.”

The south west covers: Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, north Somerset, Bath and north east Somerset, Gloucestershire, south Gloucestershire, Bristol, Dorset, Swindon and Wiltshire

Speakers at Castle Park will include: Peter Hughes – Unite regional secretary (south west); Joanne Kaye – Unison regional secretary (south west); Roger Thomas – PCS vice chair (regional committee); and Steve Gibbs – Bristol Hazards group secretary.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.