Trade unions, civic dignitaries and the community came together to remember all the people killed or injured at work at a moving event in Hartlepool.
A service at Christ Church took place as part of International Workers Memorial Day to pay respects to workers who continue to die all over the world while doing their job – due to poor health and safety.
This year’s theme centred around Strong Laws, Strong Enforcement and Strong Unions.
Numerous speakers told how profit is still being put before safety and of a constant struggle against growing attacks on workplace protection including in Britain.
Edwin Jeffries, president of Hartlepool Trades Union Council, said: “Government attacks on health and safety regulation and resources of the Health and Safety Executive are unfortunately taking us backwards.”
Reverend Janet Burbury said the timing of this year’s event was especially significant coming just two days after the inquest verdicts of the Hillsborough disaster.
A hard-hitting film commissioned by Hartlepool Trades Union Council and produced by Gary Kester, of Hartlepool College of Further Education, moved people to tears with its graphic footage of real -life incidents.
Dr Andrew Watterson, of Stirling University, said there are 13,000 work-related deaths in Britain a year and 27 million lost work days.
“That’s why we need strong laws, inspection and where necessary enforcement and why trade unions are so critical,” he said.
The service included a minute’s silence and ended with the laying of about 40 wreaths.