By Gemma Childe on 8th May 2012
The Health and Safety Executive marked this year’s International Workers’ Memorial Day by announcing greater support for migrant and multilingual staff.
Of the 241 people who died and 790,000 who were injured at work last year, many were foreign workers who were unaware of, or may have misunderstood, regulations designed to protect them.
In response, the HSE has enhanced its multilingual migrant worker website to provide guidance for workers from overseas and their employers.
"All workers have the right to work safely and without risk to their health,” said Geoffrey Podger, chief executive of the HSE.
“With 241 people dying at work last year and 790,000 injured or made ill due to poor standards of health and safety, it is of utmost importance that health and safety processes are in place to protect workers' lives.
“The website is a valuable tool for overseas workers and their employers and will help them to understand their roles and responsibilities under British health and safety law."
Migrant workers are often employed in high-risk industries where the health and safety culture may be very different from in their country of origin. These factors, along with language difficulties, can put them at greater risk of accidents or ill-health.
The HSE’s guidance for workers has been translated into several languages and provides links to other sources of information.
International Workers' Memorial Day on April 28 was commemorated to "remember the dead: fight for the living".
Bereaved families and union members held rallies in several towns and cities to call for greater adherence to health and safety measures.
In Manchester, Linzi Herbertson, whose husband was killed at work in Oldham in 1998, said: "On Workers' Memorial Day we remember the dead but we also fight for the living.”
"We want people to realise that health and safety isn't a joke, it's about whether someone comes home after work, alive and well, or not."