“I thought we had more time”

FACK Statement: International Workers' Memorial Day 28 April 2024

26 Apr 2024| News

 “I thought we had more time.” 

A simple sentence written by Anthea on her husband Peter’s first missed birthday. But words  which wrap within them a whole world of pain. Because, Peter had died in an incident at his  workplace a matter of weeks before. Some 21 years before this, Anthea and Peter had seen their  17 year-old son Dan leave for work, and not return home. He had been sent on to a fragile roof,  without supervision, less than a week into his working life. A decision by his employer which  ended his all too short life. One woman should never ever have to bear such loss. 

When our time with our loved ones is cut so brutally short, FACK family members can remain  held captive in a moment in time.  

In 2016 an explosion at Didcot Power Station claimed the lives of 4 men: husbands, dads,  brothers, sons. Their families describe themselves as being “stuck in the happenings of 2016”.  Because, eight years on from the explosion, they remain waiting for the investigation to conclude,  waiting for the prosecution decisions to be made, waiting for answers as to how and why their loved ones died. 

And they are far from alone. Ann’s husband John was sent to work in an inherently unsafe  environment by his employer. She says: “After 4 very long, difficult, emotional and stressful years  we are very upset, disappointed and confused…who knows how long it will take for us to discover  who really is responsible and who will be held accountable for the loss of two hard working mens’  lives.” 

This interminable wait for answers leads to justice delayed and denied; trauma extended and  compounded. 

Getting those answers isn’t a point in time that ends our pain. Because a FACK family member  can also find themselves transported back to a moment in time. Time and time again. Sometimes  very many decades on.  

Joyce lost her dad in a fire at work in 1968. She was just 8 years old. The trauma of that grips her  to this day. It is often fuelled by triggers such as fire reports on TV, or the terror of the smell of  smoke hitting her on leaving some shops, and realising there was a fire on the street where her  daughter lived. She describes her C.PTSD as being in full flight that night. Convinced she had 

seen her daughter for the last time. She collapsed in her arms when she answered her door. And  her daughter had to help her breathe again.  

Judith describes reliving over-and-over again that moment in time that she received “the call”: “It  happened on Friday, every Friday I look at the clock and it’s the time I got the call. I relive every  minute, and I know others do too. I didn’t leave you until I had to.” 

That last time we left them. 

The last time we spoke to them. 

The last time they walked out that door. 

The last time we heard them belt out that tune. 

The first time we realised they weren’t coming home. 

The point in time we will have been on this earth longer without them, than with them. All the times we wish they were still here to share. 

Those who advocate for work-bereaved families are often told they are a family’s angels, or  superheroes, and that without their support, the journey would have been all the tougher, in some  cases even un-survivable. So as we take time today to renew our commitment to fight like hell for  the living, we thank those who expound energy each and every day to ensure loved ones return  home from work safe and sound. You are life-savers in more ways than one.  

We FACK families thought we had more time.  

And so we implore others that the time is now!  

The time is now for those employers who have not yet done so, to wake up to their responsibilities;  for politicians to bolster protections; for the climate crisis to be tackled; for regulators to be given  the resources to proactively and preventatively inspect; and for future generations of loved ones  to be given more time, all of their time.  

Remember our dead. And, please, please, continue to fight like hell for the living.    

FACK was established in July 2006, by and for families of people killed by the gross negligence of business  employers, see www.fack.org.uk

Founder Members of FACK: 

Dawn and Paul Adams son Samuel Adams aged 6 killed at Trafford Centre,10th October 1998 Linzi Herbertson husband Andrew Herbertson 29, killed at work on 30th January 1998  Mike and Lynne Hutin son Andrew Hutin 20, killed at work on 8th Nov 2001 

Mick & Bet Murphy son Lewis Murphy 18, killed at work on 21st February 2004 

Louise Adamson brother Michael Adamson 26, killed at work on 4th August 2005 

Linda Whelan son Craig Whelan 23, (and Paul Wakefield) killed at work on 23rd May 2004 Dorothy & Douglas Wright son Mark Wright 37, killed at work on 13th April 2005 

For more information and to support FACK, contact Greater Manchester Hazards Centre: mail@gmhazards.org.uk or the Scottish Hazards Centre: 0800 0015 0222.