The Communist Party’s lead candidate for the Senedd election in South Wales East region, Robert Griffiths, is calling upon the next Welsh government to organise a public inquiry into accidents at work in Wales.
In a message released to mark Workers’ Memorial Day on Wednesday (April 28), he said it was shocking that workplace deaths in Wales were more than three times the level for Britain as a whole, while industrial injuries were 28 per cent higher. The figures are from the most recent annual report of the Health & Safety Executive and cover the 12 months up to the Covid-19 outbreak, when 16 workers died in Wales and 3,712 were injured.
Mr Griffiths also pointed that the reports of Covid-19 infections at work were also around 50 per cent higher than than the British average, totalling 2,313 over the past 12 months.
‘These grim statistics not only represent very real human tragedies for victims, workmates, families and friends. They also reflect the scandalous failure to ensure health and safety standards at work and the criminal complacency shown by British Tory governments, the Health and Safety Executive and numerous employers both big and small’, the Communist Party general secretary commented.
‘The reduction in the number of workplace inspectors by one-third since 2010 must be reversed’, he added, ‘Most importantly, too, workers need to join a trade union and ensure that elected health and safety representatives abide by the letter and spirit of the law – or else industrial action will follow’.
Mr Griffiths said a public inquiry would be the best way to uncover the reasons why employees and self-employed in Wales are at greater risk of injury or death, providing the basis for action by government, unions and employers to remedy the situation.