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Community / Shetland woman continues campaign for Lerwick memorial to workers killed at work

ON International Workers’ Memorial Day (Sunday, 28 April) local woman Joyce Davies continues with her campaign for a Shetland memorial to remember all those who lost their lives at work or suffered from work-related injury or illness.

To mark the day, Davies and fellow campaigners including Highlands and islands MSP Emma Roddick will gather in the foyer Mareel at 1.30pm for reflection and discussion, and then again at 8.30pm when the arts centre will be lit up in purple. All welcome!

Joyce Davies.

The memorial day is being commemorated at 24 events across various local authorities in Scotland.

Davies, who is also a Scottish Hazards campaigner, is appealing to Shetland Islands Council, their trade unions and the wider communities for funding to establish a local memorial for workers killed by work.

The Scalloway resident lost her father Henry Fulton Brown in November 1968 when he was killed in November 1968 in the James Watt Street fire in her home city of Glasgow.

Last year, Davies had spoken up as she felt “embarrassed” that her local authority was not marking this occasion by lighting up the town hall in purple and holding a minute of silence to mark the civic occasion.

As this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the campaigner is further pressing for a memorial to be established to remember workers killed at work.

Davies said the relevance of such a monument for Shetland is highlighted by the number of injuries and incidents reported throughout the years, as well as the recent case of a local firm’s health and safety failings leading to a worker’s brain injuries in 2023.

“This is the 50th anniversary of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974: thankfully the numbers of those killed at work has fallen dramatically since then, from 651 in 1974 to 135 in 2022/23. This is an indication of the success of the legislation,” she said.

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“However, we should not be complacent: 26 Scottish workers lost their lives in 2022/23.

“This official figure does not include those killed at sea or in air tragedies, nor does it consider those who die in road traffic accidents whilst driving to work or the unknown number of people who take their own lives due to work.

“On the 28th of April let’s remember the dead and fight for the living, and pledge to come back year after year to do the same, at a worker’s memorial of which we can be proud.”

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