International Workers' Memorial Day: why we remember the dead and fight for the living

Dyddiad cyhoeddi
This week, workers across Wales and the world will be remembering those who lost their lives due to work

Remember the dead

Last year in Wales, fifteen people sustained fatal injuries at work. Across Great Britain 135 died. Those are the numbers reported by employers to the authorities. However according to the Hazard’s campaign, these number number do not reflect the full picture. According their analysis, at least 1,459 deaths are caused by work incidents every year in Britain.

Every year on International Workers' Memorial Day (28 April), trade unionists pause to remember everyone who's lost their lives due to work.

TUC has established an online Workers Memorial Wall to remember those killed at work. The testimony of family and loved ones is very moving. You are welcome to add information about your own loved ones to the Memorial Wall.

Increased risks from climate change 

This year the International Labour Organisation will be linking its commemoration to the increased risk faced by workers as a result of climate change.

Here in Wales we have seen those dangers increase. In 2022 we were exposed to severe heatwaves in June, July and August, which saw a rise in grass and forest fires. In February 2020, Storm Dennis hit south Wales, with the region’s fire service taking 1,400 calls in twelve hours.

As we look to the future, the predictions are for further and more frequent extreme weather events. That’s why it’s so important that our network of health and safety reps must be properly supported by their employers at work to be given the time and resources to do undertaken their role. Join our health, safety and well-being newsletter to stay informed.

Fight for the living

This year we are promoting a week of action on safety. We’re asking health and safety reps across the country to take inspiration from workers memorial day to inspect their workplace for safety risks.

We’ll be shining a light on what needs improving, and how unions are best placed to understand and advocate for safer workplaces.

Wales TUC has also established a health, safety and workplace regulation committee which raises issues of national importance with the Welsh government and regulators. Current hot topics include sexual harassment and concerns about safety at workplaces where large amounts of hazardous materials are stored. If you’re interested in contributing the committee’s work then please contact me on

The message of workers’ memorial day is to remember the dead and fight for the living. The trade union movement in Wales, with our sisters and brothers across the world, remain as committed as ever to this principle.