World Day for Safety and Health at Work
DO YOU KNOW: Every 15 seconds, a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease? Every 15 seconds, 160 workers have a work-related accident.
World Day for safety and health at work is an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work. It is held on 28 April and has been observed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 2003.
28 April has also long been associated with the world’s trade union movement’s commemoration of the victims of occupational accidents and diseases.
Every year some two million men and women lose their lives through accidents and diseases linked to their work. In addition, there are 270 million occupational accidents and 160 million occupational diseases each year, incurring US$ 2.8 trillion in costs for lost working time and expenses for treatment, compensation and rehabilitation. Fatalities, accidents and illness at work are highly preventable and we have an obligation to act.
A national occupational safety and health culture is one in which the right to a safe and healthy working environment is respected at all levels, where governments, employers and workers actively participate in securing a safe and healthy working environment through a system of defined rights, responsibilities and duties, and where the highest priority is accorded to the principle of prevention.
History of 28 April
Why 28 April?
In 2003, the International Labour Organization (ILO), began to observe World Day in order to stress the prevention of accidents and diseases at work, capitalizing on the ILO’s traditional strengths of tripartism and social dialogue.
This celebration is an integral part of the Global Strategy on Occupational Safety and Health of the ILO, as documented in the Conclusions of the International Labour Conference in June 2003. One of the main pillars of the Global Strategy is advocacy, the World Day for SAFETY AND HEALTH at Work is a significant tool to raise awareness of how to make work safe and healthy and of the need to raise the political profile of occupational SAFETY AND HEALTH.
28 April is also the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers organized worldwide by the trade union movement since 1996.
Prevention of occupational accidents and diseases
The annual World Day for Safety and Health at Work on 28 April promotes the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on the magnitude of the problem and on how promoting and creating a safety and health culture can help reduce the number of work-related deaths and injuries.
Each of us is responsible for stopping deaths and injuries on the job. As governments we are responsible for providing the infrastructure — laws and services — necessary to ensure that workers remain employable and that enterprises flourish; this includes the development of a national policy and programme and a system of inspection to enforce compliance with occupational safety and health legislation and policy. As employers we are responsible for ensuring that the working environment is safe and healthy. As workers we are responsible to work safely and to protect ourselves and not to endanger others, to know our rights and to participate in the implementation of preventive measures.
Emerging risks at work
New and emerging occupational risks may be caused by technical innovation or by social or organizational change, such as:
- New technologies and production processes, e.g. nanotechnology, biotechnology
- New working conditions, e.g. higher workloads, work intensification from downsizing, poor conditions associated with migration for work, jobs in the informal economy
- Emerging forms of employment, e.g. self-employment, outsourcing, temporary contracts
They may be more widely recognized through better scientific understanding, e.g. the effects of ergonomic risks on musculoskeletal disorders.
They may be influenced by changes in perceptions about the importance of certain risk factors, e.g. the effects of psychosocial factors on work-related stress.
STORY BY: NTEWUSU PHILOMINA LISA
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