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Workers Memorial Day: a timeline

Workers memorial day is an international event: bringing together trade unionists to remember those who have lost their lives to work, and renew our commitment to make work safer for everyone.

This timeline details some of the events in British labour history where employer and government failures led to the preventable deaths of workers. It also includes dates which mark when trade unions won key legislative change to protect rights to safety at work.


Trades unions have, over time, secured legislative changes to protect workers, compensation to support victims financially, and on a workplace, level negotiated protections to make work safe.

Every day, trade union health and safety reps work with members and employers to bring about adjustments to keep working people safe in their job.

We know work is safer with a union. If you’re not a member, join one today

If you’re already a union member, consider becoming a safety rep

Find out more about the history of Health and Safety legislation

Recommended further reading

Steve Tombs, 'Death and Work in Britain', Sociological Review (1999), pp. 345-367.

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