WSF (1999): “Your Boss Is A Killer! Figures Show 3 People a Day Die in Work-related Accidents”

WSF (1999): “Your Boss Is A Killer! Figures Show 3 People a Day Die in Work-related Accidents”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 5, number 1, second quarter 1999. Complete PDF is here

Figures show that 3 people die every day from accidents at work. This is according to the Department of Labour. Yet this same Department does nothing to stop this slaughter on the shop-floor. It just turns a blind eye.

In 1997, 863 workers died at work.  666 workers lost an arm or a leg. 1606 workers had bones broken. 1 out of 4 workers injured were so badly hurt that they were off work for 4 weeks or more. In 1993, more than 22 million person-days were lost at work due to accidents – this is 5 times more days than were lost to strike action. These figures are too low. Many more accidents do not get reported.

Also, these figures do not include injuries from the mines. Up to 50,000 workers have died on the mines in the last 80 years. Also, the figures do not include ailments that take longer to show up, such as the effects of exposure to poisons at work over a long period.

The bosses are criminals! These figures are from the Department of Labour’s (DoL)own reports. The DoL also admits that most accidents involving machinery are due to “failure by management to ensure the correct operational procedures being applied to workers”.

But the DoL is not going to help us workers. In fact, in 1996, prosecutions for breaking health and safety laws fell by 66%. There are only 93 inspectors to enforce health and safety regulations in the whole country. Even where these inspectors find infringements of the law, they usually do not take further action. The worst that happens in a first offence is usually that a letter is sent to the boss in question asking him or her to obey the law. We should have no illusions in the Department of labour. It pretends to be a friend to the workers but is in fact a supporter of the bosses.

We must ORGANISE OR DIE! – only through strong unions can we challenge the slaughter on the shop-floor by fighting for better conditions.

Your boss is a health hazard! Health before profits! Organise or die!