28 April is World Day for Safety and Health at Work where we remember workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work
This year’s observance focuses our attention on COVID-19 with the call to “Stop the pandemic at work” #iwmd20 and #StopthePandemicAtWork.
The ITUC statement to the G20 Labour Ministers on 24 April 2020 called for a globally coordinated action plan to respond to Covid-19, citing 195 million jobs at risk and up to 250 million facing starvation. The call also recognised the collapse of non-essential supply chains in the poorest countries in the world where there is no or inadequate social protection systems such as health care or unemployment funds.
COVID-19 briefing: Occupational Safety and Health (OSH)
Going home after time at work ought not to be a luxury but the norm.
Workplaces play a crucial role in establishing norms for safe and healthy practices. They are also essential for cascading education and informing and raising awareness between workers, their families and communities.
Health, safety, wellbeing and labour rights always go hand in hand for the long-term sustainability of jobs, workers and industries. An investment in workplace Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) is paramount for any responsible business.
In basic terms going home after time at work ought not to be a luxury but the norm. OSH applies to all workers, everywhere. During this pandemic, where operations are still functioning or preparing to re-open, sound and worker-centred OSH practices can literally save lives.
In the immediacy of crisis management and the health impacts of the virus itself we also have to bear in mind the long-term negative impacts on workers of loss of wages leading to hunger and deprivation, quarantine in crowded spaces, lack of basic medical care, bereavement and uncertainty for the future of their work and livelihoods. These negative consequences, however, can be alleviated to some degree through a commitment to safe working environments where they are still working.
Sound advice, communication, consultation with trade unions and OSH committees, support for workers either still working under new conditions or who’ve been laid off due to closures will also set the pathway in the recovery phase with the creation of safe and healthy jobs for all.