First observed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2003, World Day for Safety and Health at Work emphasises on the prevention of accidents and diseases at the workplace. The day is observed on 28 April every year.
The day intends to “focus international attention on the magnitude of the problem and on how promoting and creating a safe and health culture can help reduce the number of work-related deaths and injuries.” The United Nations marked the day with a tweet saluting the “courage, commitment and heroic efforts” of all workers fighting the global coronavirus pandemic.
The theme of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work this year is ‘stop the pandemic’. Earlier, the theme for the day was violence and harassment in the workplace. However, it was changed due to the current COVID-19 crisis which makes it more important for everyone to ensure that their employees do not face any of the risks posed by the pandemic.
The theme this year recognises the challenges that government, employers, workers and society across the world are facing to combat coronavirus. According to the United Nations, World Day for Safety and Health at Work will focus on addressing the outbreak of infectious diseases, including the novel coronavirus.
As per ILO, this year the day will raise awareness on the adoption of safe practices in workplaces and the role that occupational safety and health (OSH) services play. The focus will also be on medium to long-term measures for preparedness and recovery into OSH management systems and policies at the national and enterprise levels.
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder underscored the importance of the safety and health of workforce on the occasion. Ryder said, “In the face of an infectious disease outbreak, how we protect our workers now clearly dictates how safe our communities are, and how resilient our businesses will be, as this pandemic evolves.”
The ILO chief elaborated that it is only by implementing occupational safety and health measures that one can protect the lives of workers, their families and the larger communities and ensure work continuity and economic survival.
The International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers is also observed on 28 April.