Today marks World Occupational Health and Safety day. A day to remember the workers who have died or injured at work and to reflect on the need for improved workplace safety. It is marked each year on the 28th of April by the International Labour Organisation.
The ILO says ‘Every year 2.78 million workers die from occupational accidents and work-related diseases (of which 2.4 million are disease-related) and an additional 374 million workers suffer from non-fatal occupational accidents.’
That equates to around 7500 deaths on the job each day globally.
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Aside from the economic cost, there is an intangible cost, not fully recognized in these figures, of the immeasurable human suffering caused by poor occupational safety and health (OSH) conditions. This is tragic and regrettable because, as research and practice over the past century has repeatedly demonstrated, this suffering is largely preventable.
World Occupational Health and Safety day highlights that psychosocial risks, work-related stress and non-communicable diseases are of growing concern for many workers in all parts of the world. At the same time, many workers remain challenged by persistent work-related safety and health risks and it is important not to overlook these populations as the world of work continues to transform.
When we look to the future of safety and health at work, we are also called to take stock of the developments of the past century. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) was founded on the concept of safe and healthy work, and OSH was embedded in the rationale for its creation. While its response to OSH challenges has changed over time, the adoption and promotion of OSH-related instruments has continued to occupy a central place in the activities of the ILO.
Currently, along with the major ILO Declarations, there are more than 40 instruments specifically dealing with OSH. Another prominent feature of the ILO’s work has been the development of ILO Codes of Practice, providing OSH guidance in various economic sectors and on specific hazards; as well as the production of ILO guidelines on OSH management systems, and on workers’ health surveillance.
The move to creating a culture of prevention has resulted in numerous technical publications as well as OSH training packages designed to further protect and promote the health and safety of workers around the world.
You can read more at the ILO website.
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