The number of British troops killed, in Afghanistan, over the last 9 years, has now reached the terrible toll of more than 300. We all know the stories about the inadequate equipment that the troops are provided with, in carrying out their duties. The fact, that the troops, killed or badly maimed, knew what they were letting themselves in for, in taking up the profession of War, is no solace to those who have lost members of their family. The repeated ceremonies for those killed, and the TV coverage of them are understandable, as are the TV interviews with those that have lost sons or husbands, wives or daughters.
Yet, year after year, even more workers are killed and badly maimed also doing their jobs. Last year 180 workers lost their lives due to industrial accidents. HSE Statistics. That figure was actually slightly down on the figure of 220, which was the average for the previous five years. Put, another way as many workers are killed by Capitalism in industry every 18 months, as have been killed by capitalism on the battlefield in the whole of the Afghanistan campaign.
The difference being that, although soldiers know, when they begin their employment, that their job is to kill, and to be killed, that forms no part of the job description of the ordinary worker. The least the ordinary worker should be able to expect is that the conditions under which they work are safe. Yet, despite the fact that there is this terrible loss of life for workers, there is no comparable coverage in the media of industrial deaths compared to soldiers deaths. We see no anguished interviews with the loved ones of industrial workers killed in the name of profit.
On the contrary, the gutter press, in particular, can only ridicule the need for Health & Safety in the work place, falsifying stories, sensationalising, and exaggerating those things which at root are extremely rational and necessary. In fact, when it comes to the real reasons why many practices HAVE been banned, it has nothing to do with Health & Safety legislation, and everything to do with the fact that organisations are afraid of being sued by individuals, egged on by an ambulance chasing culture of litigation, that has spread from the US, and which is itself a symptom of the kind of money centred, grasping culture that Capitalism itself promotes.
Its not surprising that, at the same time as demanding that workers work until they drop dead from old age, the Liberal-Tory government are also proposing to reduce workers protection by Health & Safety legislation. Perhaps we should demand that, just as they do with soldiers, who die for the greater glory of British Capitalism, Government Ministers should have to write to the families of those workers who die each year for the same cause in industry. Perhaps we should demand that, just as they answer for not providing the troops with adequate equipment, to protect their lives, they answer in person the question of why those workers who died did not need the protection of Health & Safety laws they now propose to axe!