Outside a building site in Southwark
At the HSE
A short silence outside the HSE
At CIty Hall
One of the industries with the worst record is the construction industry, and although there is more emphasis on safety than before health and safety regulations came into force, far too many still die. In the last 25 years in the UK, 2,800 people have been killed on construction sites or died as a result of construction activities. Over a quarter of all workplace deaths are in construction. According to the HSE, "Between April 2004 and March 2005, 71 workers died and thousands were injured as a result of construction work."
The memorial day is to "remember the dead: fight for the living". The Construction Safety Campaign organised a morning of events starting at Canada House to protest at canada's continued promotion of the killer mineral asbestos. I joined them for the main event, a march starting by Tate Modern, first to the offices of the HSE at Rose Court on Southwark Bridge Road, where there were short speeches, and then along to the Greater London Authority offices beside Tower Bridge where there was a rally.
The march route led past several large construction sites, where speakers urged workers to join in the demonstration. Some came out and joined the marchers in a minutes silence remembering victims killed at work, removing their hard hats, though most just stopped work to watch, looking down from the tops of buildings.
Speakers at the GLA 'Scoop' included Tony O'Brien of the CSC, and representatives of the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT) and Transport and General Workers Union(TGWU). Ken was abroad, but Joanne McCartney, Chair of the GLA Health and Public Services Committee came. She said that the authority wanted the 2012 Olympics to be an opportunity to promote workplace safety, with contractors being obliged to have proper safety committees and cooperating with the unions. MP Jeremy Corbyn also spoke well, although it was perhaps surprising that no other politicians came to address the meeting.
More pictures on MyLondonDiary web site shortly.