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3m workers lost to occupational hazards yearly, says ILO

By Gloria Nwafor
03 May 2022   |   2:45 am
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has disclosed that about three million workers are said to die yearly due to occupational accidents and diseases, while 402 million

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has disclosed that about three million workers are said to die yearly due to occupational accidents and diseases, while 402 million people suffer from non-fatal occupational injuries.
  
A joint estimation by the labour organisation and the World Health Organisation (WHO), indicated that work-related diseases were responsible for 81 per cent of all work-related deaths, with deaths due to occupational injuries accounting for the remaining 19 per cent of work-related deaths.

   
In a message to mark World Day for Safety and Health at Work, commemorated every April 28, Director-General of the ILO, Guy Ryder, outlined the importance of workers, employers and governments working together to reduce deaths and injuries in the workplace.
  
He said the COVID-19 pandemic had shown the importance of occupational safety and health and how collaboration and social dialogue between workers, employers and governments could reduce risks, and improve safety and health in the world of work.
  
According to him, social dialogue improves the quality of policies because employers and workers have in-depth knowledge of the needs and realities of companies and workforces – all the more necessary in times of crisis when quick responses are needed.
 
Ryder said consistent action at all levels was needed to create safe and healthy workplaces.
  
He said it means governments prioritising workers’ health and safety in the national agenda and allocating enough resources to increase awareness and implement policies. 
   
“It means workplaces complying with safety and health regulations, introducing Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) management systems and promoting a positive OSH culture. It means workers participating in the development of OSH policies, which all the evidence shows, reduces accident and injury rates,” he said.
  
To promote a preventative safety and health culture, he said actions are needed at both the workplace and national levels.
  
According to him, at the national level, he said it was vital that the government as a whole, involving all the relevant ministries, commits to building and maintaining such a preventative safety and health culture, ensuring that workers’ health and safety are considered a priority in the national agenda.
   
He said adequate means and resources needed to be allocated to increase general awareness of OSH, knowledge of hazards and risks, and an understanding of their prevention and control. 
  
“Meaningful social dialogue and tripartite national commitment constitute the cornerstone for such a preventative safety and health culture, whose role is to foster lasting improvements in safety and health at work.
  
“Through social dialogue, the tripartite constituents actively participate in all phases of the OSH decision making processes. This ranges from developing and revising OSH policy and regulatory frameworks to address persistent and new OSH challenges, to promoting compliance mechanisms at the workplace level.
 
“In workplaces with a strong positive OSH culture, workers feel comfortable raising concerns about possible OSH risks or hazards in the workplace and management is proactive about collaborating with them to find appropriate, effective and sustainable solutions.
  
“This process requires open communication and dialogue built on trust and mutual respect,” he said.