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A TOTAL of 137 people were killed at work last year, 10 fewer than in 2015, according to the government’s Health and Safety Executive.
But nationwide workplace safety group the Hazards Campaign warned yesterday the figure was dwarfed by the numbers of people dying of work-related illnesses, including at least 5,000 a year who lose their lives to asbestos-related cancers.
Hazards welcomed the fall in workplace deaths, but said that 2,542 people die each year of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung and diaphragm caused by exposure to asbestos.
This incurable disease takes decades to produce symptoms, but sufferers usually die within three years of diagnosis. In a statement, the campaign stressed that the number killed at work “is a mere fraction of those killed by work and must not be taken as an overall measure of the harm caused by work, which is far, far greater and completely unacceptable as it is almost all preventable.
“We estimate that around 50,000 people die each year due to past poor working conditions of heart and lung diseases and work cancers,” Hazards added.
The group said that the government’s obsession with cutting “red tape” really meant abolition of regulations which protect workers.
The “Grenfell Tower fire was a publicly visible result of how the Tory bonfire of red tape led to a real-life inferno of people,” Hazards argued.
“We call for an end to this deadly deregulation culture now.”
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