Safety and Health at Work 2019


On April 28th each year, the International Labour Organisation (“ILO”) celebrates Safety and Health at work day to raise awareness of safety in the workplace. The Safety and Health at work day began in 2003 and has occurred annually since then with a new theme each year. This year the day attempts to take stock of 100 years of work in improving safety and will commence the start of a year of events highlighting the importance of safety and health at work. The ILO aims to promote an international safety and health culture where a safe working environment is respected at all levels. As part of this, the ILO defines a series of rights, responsibilities and duties for employers, and focuses particularly on the principle of prevention.

All organisations have a duty of care to ensure that employees and any other persons who may be affected by the companies undertaking remain safe at all times. Despite the rights and statutory obligations in place, every day 6,300 people die as a result of occupational accidents or work related diseases worldwide. Further to this, 317 million accidents occur at work annually. It is estimated that this in turn causes a loss of 3.64 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product.

Safety and Health at work, according to the ILO, includes a wide range of situations such as harassment and bullying at work, ergonomics, and work related stress. They are clear that their focus is not solely on accidents at work.

The ILO’s centenary anniversary this year aims to take stock on 100 years of work in improving occupational safety and looks to the future for continuing to improve the work environment through changes such as technology and demographics. The ILO’s new report will focus on the changes in work arrangements and technology such as the workforce becoming more ICT focused and desk bound.

The Safety and Health at work day falls inside Stress Awareness Month, which occurs in April each year. The ILO have also produced an app setting out 50 ways to identify causes of stress and setting out best practice recommendations for taking action in order to prevent stress in the workplace.

If you need advice regarding employer and employee rights, contact us for further guidance.