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World Day for Safety and Health at Work

World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Written by Ishwarya Thyagarajan, Masters in Development
Article Reviewed by 
The Medindia Medical Review Team on April 27, 2019 at 2:02 PM
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  • World Day for Safety and Health at Work is observed annually on 28th April by the International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • The main objective of the campaign is to raise public awareness on the importance of workplace health and safety and to prevent work-related injuries, diseases, and fatalities
  • The theme for 2019 is 'Safety and Health and the Future of Work'
  • ILO is launching a global report, a compilation of 100 years of work done to promote safe and healthy working environments for all

World Day for Safety and Health at Work is observed annually on 28th April by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The awareness day mainly seeks the attention and participation of workers and employers all over the world to achieve a safe and healthy work environment.

This year marks the centenary of the historical ILO, whose mission has been to promote social justice, human and labor rights. Therefore, the focus is on assessing the work that has been done so far in the last 100 years and the changes that would be required to be made in the future to protect and strengthen millions of laborers across the world.

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World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Every year 28th April also marks the International Workers' Memorial Day also known as International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers.

World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2019 Theme

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is observed every year with a theme taking the centre stage, and the celebrations are an integral part of the Global Strategy on Occupational Safety and Health of ILO. The theme for this year 2019 is 'Safety and Health and the Future of Work.'The World Day for Safety and Health at Work aims to promote the prevention of work-related injuries and diseases and raise awareness on the importance of having safe workplaces globally.

Main Reason for Raising Sound Alarm Over Workplace Health & Safety

The following are considered as the top occupations with the highest number of workplace injuries that could take place:
  • Service - police, armed forces, firefighting
  • Transportation and shipping
  • Manufacturing and production
  • Installation, maintenance, and repair
  • Construction
Overexertion, contact with objects and equipment and slips, trips and falls are regarded as the most common workplace events that cause injuries, leading to longer periods of absence from work.

According to the ILO,
  • Nearly 7500 people die every day due to unsafe working environments
  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals at work place has caused close to 450,000 deaths annually
  • Almost 100,000 deaths annually have been reported because of exposure to asbestos
  • Construction sites account for more than 60,000 fatal accidents
  • Around 6500 people are affected due to work-related diseases in one day
  • A large number of workers are at the risk of non-fatal accidents
Job creation, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue and gender equality comprise the objectives of ILO's agenda for the workers' community. ILO's policy impact has also made decent work a universal objective and its inclusion in the human rights declaration possible.

Work-related Injuries and Diseases

Injuries or illnesses that may develop as a result of certain activities performed or exposure to harmful elements at the workplace are classified as 'work-related injuries.' The work environment contributing to the worsening of an existing illness of a worker is also termed a work-related injury.

Around 6300 people die as a result of occupational accidents every day. Nearly 317 million workplace accidents worldwide have contributed to more than 2.3 million deaths annually and also resulted in long absences from work for many. A large number of people are affected by diseases such as skin cancer and silicosis that develop as a result of exposure to harmful elements at the workplace. Approximately 4 percent of global GDP goes towards the costs recurred owing to poor occupational safety and health practices.

Therefore, the focus is on adapting to the changes the future may bring and to continue improving occupational safety and health (OSH). Changes in the aspects of technology, demographics, sustainable development component like climate change and work organization in the future should be looked forward to creating a healthy work environment.

How Can We Raise Awareness on Workplace Health and Safety?

The day would kick off a series of events and activities that would be held worldwide for the rest of the year around the theme. The information accumulated and work done in the last 100 years will also be celebrated, and the ILO is also launching a global report that makes an effort to summarize the evolution of safety and health, major milestones of ILO and how its work has taken shape.

The global report will highlight factors like technology and demographics that would impact safety and health in workplaces. In addition to this, the ILO will also feature 33 original think pieces from experts around the world sharing messages and testimonials on occupational safety and health.


The emphasis this year is on being prepared for the many unanticipated changes, challenges, and opportunities that the future of work has in store. It is important that the stakeholders including the employers and workers update and acquire skills and get educated about occupational safety and health in order to be prepared to face the risks. So, let us all join together and take a giant leap to build a safe and healthy workplace for today and in the future.

References :
  1. World Day for Safety and Health at Work 28 April - (https://www.un.org/en/events/safeworkday)
  2. Every Worker Deserves to make it Home Safe - Every Day - (https://www.nsc.org/work-safety)

Source: Medindia

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