World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2020 – Infectious Diseases
The World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2020 will focus on addressing the outbreak of infectious diseases at work, in particular, on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The theme for 2020 was originally violence and harassment in the world of work, but has been replaced in view of the current global crisis. Resources and other information in this area are still available here.
The awareness day aims to stimulate national dialogue on safety and health at work. The International Labour Organization (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.
“We need special measures to protect the millions of health care workers and other workers who risk their own health for us every day. Teleworking offers new opportunities for workers to keep working... However, workers must be able to negotiate these arrangements so that they retain balance with other responsibilities, such as caring for children, the sick or the elderly, and of course themselves.”
Prevention of occupational accidents and diseases
The annual day promotes the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on the magnitude of the problem and on how promoting and creating a safety and health culture can help reduce the number of work-related deaths and injuries.
As the official website states: “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.”
Emerging risks at work
The ILO state that new and emerging occupational risks may be caused by technical innovation or by social or organisational change. The examples given are:
New technologies and production processes, e.g. nanotechnology, biotechnology
New working conditions, e.g. higher workloads, work intensification from downsizing, poor conditions associated with migration for work, jobs in the informal economy
Emerging forms of employment, e.g. self-employment, outsourcing, temporary contracts
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