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newsletter volume 20, number 2
april 2006

asian workers organising page 1

work kills more than wars

According to the ILO there is one work-related death every fifteen seconds.

Six thousand workers are killed by work every day.

This means that work kills 2.2 million workers every year.

Work injures and mutilates workers also. Almost 270 million accidents are formally recorded each year, of which 350,000 are recorded as causing fatalities.

Illnesses also come from dangerous work

Dangerous work leads to injuries, illnesses and deaths, which could be prevented. Most disasters
and everyday hazardous practices at work are preventable. Industrialised countries are exporting their hazards to developing countries.
Where workers are fully unionised the serious
accident rate is half of workplaces where workers
are not organised.

Union Health and Safety Representatives are
key to workers organising to prevent injuries
and illness. Workers elect Health and Safety
Representatives to represent them. They must not be appointed by management. They must have legal rights (entitlements) to contribute to workers’ health and safety.

These rights include:

*The right to access all information on
*The right to be consulted on all issues
related to health and safety;
*The right to inspect workplaces immediately
in the event of accident/injury or after giving
reasonable notice;
*The right to participate in identification of
hazards, assessment of risk and decisions about
*The right to perform all of the HSR activities
on paid time;
*The right to represent co-workers on all
matters relevant to health and safety;
*The right to attend H&S training on paid
time with the employer covering costs;
*The right to seek assistance from any
person - such as their Union, Community Workers’
Health Organisations or Government;
*The legal rights to issue Notices to force
the employer control the risks; and
*The right to stop the process, if workers
are placed in immediate danger.
Trade union freedom is a vital factor in workplace
safety, all too often it is still flouted. In fact, trade unionism is a high-risk occupation, just take countries like Columbia and The Philippines.

fight for the living - mourn for the dead

April 28 is the International Workers’ Memorial

It is intended to remember all those killed at or by work, and to strengthen our resolve to reduce risks and protect people from injury in the workplace.

There are also many National Days of Mourning for those killed by work.

In Bangladesh it is April 11, the anniversary
of the Spectrum-Shahriyar factory collapse
in Bangladesh. On that date, hundreds of night-shift workers found themselves buried under the debris of an industrial unit. Eventually 64 persons died and 74 were injured.

In Thailand it is May 10, the anniversary of a fire in the Kadar toy factory where 188 workers were killed in 1993 when they faced locked doors and no fire protection.

28 April was initiated by Unions in Canada, 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 incident in Connecticut.
Since 1989 trade unions in the USA, UK, Asia, Europe and Africa have organised events on and around 28 April.

The canary, pictured on the workers’ badge, has been sent down mines with the miners for centuries to show if the air was turning bad. The canary died first - hopefully giving enough time for workers to escape.

Take a moment to think about those who have lost their lives through their work and remember that we can organise on the job to fight for the living.



Asian Workers Organising, April 06

Asian Workers Organising, February 06

APWSL Newsletter December 05


workers change the world

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