BOYS as young as 10 died trapped horrifically down a local coal mine at Altham in a pit tragedy that reminds all of us of the dangers of work.

On Saturday, it will be Workers’ Memorial Day.

A day when we remember the plight of those who have died at work.

In this area, the legacy of the dangerous work in the cotton mills, factories and mines will not be forgotten easily. Work which was fraught with danger and death with an absence of any health and safety regulations.

The last MP from Baxenden, the famous Michael Davitt, turned to politics after losing his arm in a machine at Stelafoxes cotton mill in Baxenden aged just 16.

This Saturday at 10.45am we will again remember those that lost their lives including those at the catastrophic pit disaster at Moorfield Colliery, Altham, in 1883, where a terrible explosion tore through its underground workings.

That explosion resulted in the deaths of 68 people – men and boys as young as 10. Many more received serious injuries. A lack of free health care meant survivors died prematurely as a direct result of their injuries.

In the Altham area, everyone knew someone who perished in the disaster. Some families lost several members; father, brothers and sons. The names are listed on the memorial maintained by Altham Parish Council.

It is International Workers Memorial Day and the chance to also reflect on those from around the world who have lost their lives at work; the Union Carbide disaster, Bangladeshi garment workers, those who continue to work in terrible conditions such as 10 year old mine workers in DR of Congo. Workers wherever.

Only by reminding ourselves of the sacrifices and the dangers can be ensure that our workplaces do not become death traps again.

Trade unions and the Health and Safety Executive here in the UK play a vital role in ensuring that all workplaces are as safe as they can be.

Still today though many workers in the UK lose their life at work.

Besides construction, driving and working with dangerous elements such as poor electrical products and fittings contribute to workplace injury and fatalities.

So come and join me this Saturday at 10.45am at the Moorfield Colliery pit head memorial where we will remember all those who went to work but never came home.