Socialist Worker

Protest over construction workers’ deaths

Issue No. 2199

The Blacklist Support Group held a protest at the annual building awards over health and safety in the construction industry  (Pic:» Guy Smallman )</sp

The Blacklist Support Group held a protest at the annual building awards over health and safety in the construction industry (Pic: » Guy Smallman)

Workers’ Memorial Day – 28 April – is marked with commemorations across the world.

This year workers on the London Olympic site were due to stop work at 11.30am and join a protest march from Pudding Mill Lane to the Westfield site in Stratford for a commemorative event.

Shaun Scurry from Kirkby, died at the site following an incident in December last year.

He was reportedly trapped between a steel beam and an industrial lift. He was employed by Firesafe Installations.

Henry Sheridan from Luton, was killed in December 2008 when an excavator bucket fell on him while working on the Olympics rail extension at West Ham.

He was employed by Lorclon Ltd.

Tony O’Brien, national secretary of the Construction Safety Campaign, said, “The legacy of the London Olympics must not be that of even more construction workers having lost their lives.

“The industry still kills far too many workers.”

Linda Whelan’s son Craig died in a workplace incident. She is a member of Families Against Corporate Killing and explained the importance of Workers’ Memorial Day:

“It is not just for my son but for all those killed at work. It is a time for their families to come together and make a statement – to let something positive come out of Craig’s death.

“If everyone just forgets, there will be no change. It will all be brushed under the carpet.

“On Workers’ Memorial Day I will be remembering Craig and thousands like him but also hoping we can make some sort of difference.”

A list of Workers’ Memorial Day events is available at »

Firms fined for safety breaches

Steel company Corus and waste firm Biffa were fined around £250,000 each last week after safety breaches led to deaths at their sites.

Safety campaign Hazards said, “When will senior directors of companies be held personally accountable for their serial killing and putting workers’ health and safety at risk?”

Bosses can be fined but don’t face jail. Corus incurred three fines in one month, while Biffa has been prosecuted 16 times by the Health and Safety Executive since 2001. Financial sanctions are clearly not deterring firms.

The Tories propose to allow companies to self-inspect on health and safety issues.

The Labour government’s response to the 2009 Donaghy report into workplace deaths stopped short of backing the recommendation that statutory director’s duties be implemented urgently.

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Tue 27 Apr 2010, 18:51 BST
Issue No. 2199
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