International Workers’ Memorial Day
By Richard Labrador
Every year Unite the Union together with the Gibraltar Cultural Services has very kindly invited me to represent IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) at the International Workers’ Memorial Day ceremony. In years past, when the ceremony was held in the lobby of Parliament House, I was invited to say a few words, more recently the ceremony was downscaled and was being held by the commemorative plaque in the Alameda Gardens.
We all have different thoughts during the one minute silence, I have been involved, in one way or another, with every single work related fatality in Gibraltar over the past three or more decades and it is of these cases that I think during the silence. However, there is one particular case that is always at the forefront of my thoughts, that is the death of Daniel Duarte, a friend and colleague who lost his life 20 years ago whilst operating a mobile crane. He left a young family.
Health and safety at work is something that needs constant reminder for people become complacent and start cutting corners. Most accidents are preventable and many occur in the way you least expect, in all probabilities totally avoidable. A good safety culture is essential in the workplace and this has to be a partnership between the workforce and management. Government was in the process of reinstituting the Health and Safety Advisory Council, a very useful tool, but like everything else this has had to be put on hold.
And like everything else, this year’s ceremony as we have known it has had to be cancelled. Instead Unite is asking everyone to observe a one minute silence on Tuesday 28th April at 1200. I will be doing so at home; at 1200 I will be sounding The Last Post on my bugle followed by Rouse at 1201. This will be my way of honouring this year those who have died as a result of a work related accident or medical condition. During the minute silence I will remember those who have died, and in particular as I always do, my friend Daniel.
I encourage other buglers, those supporting my initiative in sounding a salute every evening in support of those working front line, to also support me by sounding The Last Post followed by Rouse at midday on Tuesday.
We have to remember the dead and work for the living.
Richard Labrador is the Chairman of the IOSH Gibraltar Associate Branch.