Concern is growing over the continuing rise in COVID-19 infections in some parts of the world and the ability to sustain declining rates in others. Recognising the great challenge that governments, employers, workers, and whole societies are facing worldwide to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Day for Safety and Health at Work focuses on addressing the outbreak of infectious diseases at work, in particular, on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 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. It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus on addressing the outbreak of infectious diseases at work, focussing on the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim is to stimulate national tripartite dialogue on safety and health at work.
The ILO is using this day to raise awareness on the adoption of safe practices in workplaces and the role that occupational safety and health (OSH) services play. It will also focus on the medium to long-term, including recovery and future preparedness, in particular, integrating measures into OSH management systems and policies at the national and enterprise levels.
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.
The SafeDay report - In the face of a pandemic: Ensuring Safety and Health at Work highlights the occupational safety and health (OSH) risks arising from the spread of COVID-19. It also explores measures to prevent and control the risk of contagion, psychosocial risks, ergonomic and other work-related safety and health risks associated with the pandemic. The ILO Centenary Declaration adopted in June 2019 declared that "safe and healthy working conditions are fundamental to decent work”. This is even more significant today, as ensuring safety and health at work is indispensable in the management of the pandemic and the ability to resume work.
At the World Assembly of Youth (WAY) 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. We call upon the governments to provide the infrastructure that is 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. We also highlight the critical importance of addressing these challenges and improving safety and health for young workers and promote decent youth employment.
Let us urge young workers to bring energy and fresh ideas to work and allow them to speak up on issues concerning them. Each of us is responsible for stopping deaths and injuries on the job.