Chimney tragedy marked at old mill

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An industrial tragedy which claimed the lives of 15 mill workers has been commemorated with a plaque at the site of their death.

In 1892, a 150-foot chimney collapsed at Wesley Barraclough flannel manufacturer at Marsh Mills in Dewsbury Road, Cleckheaton.

A two-minute silence and bell-ringing, organised by Bill Chard from the GMB trade union, took place where the site once laid on Tuesday.

It was attended by Coun Gwen Lowe (Lab, Batley East) and Labour candidates for Cleckheaton, Ken Lowe, and Liversedge and Gomersal, Cath Pinder.

The commemoration was organised as part of International Workers’ Memorial Day, which is aimed at reminding workers across the globe that many of them are at daily risk of accidents, injury and illness while on the job.

This year’s theme was removing workers’ exposure to hazardous substances.

To coincide with this theme, the TUC is highlighting the results of an online questionnaire on this problem at work.

It was filled in by 500 people, 71 per cent of which said they are exposed to, or at risk from, potentially dangerous substances.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The people who completed our questionnaire are a reminder that many workers in the UK are exposed to a range of hazardous substances.

“For some it is on a daily basis, and the result has been thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of people suffering ill health.

“Yet every single one of these cases could be prevented. Many of these substances could be removed from the workplace or their use reduced, but where this is not possible, workers need much better protection.

“That means stronger regulation and, more importantly, proper enforcement.”

This year marks the 23rd International Workers’ Memorial Day which has been commemorated in the UK.