April 28th is World Day for Safety and Health at Work!
The International Labour Organization (ILO) celebrates the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28th every year to raise awareness about occupational safety and health and to promote safe, healthy, and decent working conditions.
The day is an opportunity to focus on the prevention of accidents and diseases at work, as well as to promote the physical and mental well-being of workers.
It also highlights the importance of ensuring that workers have access to adequate safety and health information, training, and resources. Workplace health and safety is absolutely vital to the livelihood and prosperity of all employees.
The Theme for 2023 World Day for Safety and Health at Work
Each year, the World Day for Safety and Health at Work has a specific theme, such as promoting the safety and health of young workers, reducing exposure to hazardous substances, and addressing psychosocial risks in the workplace. The ILO, together with its partners, organizes a range of events, campaigns, and activities to promote the theme and raise awareness about occupational safety and health issues.
The theme for the World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2023 is “Anticipate, prepare and respond to crises – Invest now in resilient OSH systems”. The theme highlights the importance of anticipating and preparing for potential crises, such as pandemics, natural disasters, or economic downturns, to ensure that workplaces remain safe and healthy for employees.
Importance of Workplace Safety and Health
Workplace safety and health are essential for the wellbeing of employees, as well as for the productivity and success of businesses. Safe work environments can help prevent injured workers and work-related diseases , which can lead to lost productivity, increased healthcare costs, extended absences, work-related issues involving mental health, and decreased morale among employees.
Moreover, businesses that prioritize workplace safety and health are often more attractive to potential employees, as well as to customers and investors who value responsible and sustainable business practices. Investing in workplace safety and health can also help businesses comply with regulations and avoid legal and financial liabilities. When employees experience better health and aren’t worried about any kind of outbreak of infectious diseases or injuries, the economic burden is greatly decreased and the human dignity of the work-force is elevated and protected.
Anticipating and Preparing for Crises
Nothing like a pandemic to show how prepared you are, right???
The COVID-19 pandemic definitely highlighted the importance of anticipating and preparing for potential crises in the workplace. The pandemic really forced businesses to adapt quickly to new working conditions, such as remote work, social distancing, and increased hygiene measures.
(Not to mention thrusting many organizations into learning how to livestream! My son is a swimmer and before the pandemic, no one live streamed any meets. Now, it’s pretty much commonplace!) But I digress…
Businesses that had already invested in resilient occupational safety and health (OSH) systems were better equipped to respond to the challenges of the pandemic. For example, businesses with established telework policies were able to transition to remote work more smoothly, while those with robust hygiene protocols were better able to protect employees from the virus.
Teleworking continues to play a huge part in our lives today, allowing for a productive work environment based at home, thus lessening the implications of potential occupational risks and enormous challenges facing companies who want to create better health practices and prioritize workers’ health.
Investing in Resilient OSH Systems
Investing in resilient OSH systems can help businesses prepare for and respond to potential crises, as well as to other workplace hazards. Resilient OSH systems involve identifying and assessing workplace hazards, developing and implementing policies and procedures to control those hazards, and monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of those policies and procedures.
Businesses can invest in resilient OSH systems by providing OSH training to employees, conducting regular workplace inspections, implementing hazard control measures, and developing emergency preparedness plans. By investing in resilient OSH systems, businesses can help prevent workplace accidents and illnesses, as well as reduce the negative impact of potential crises on their operations and employees.
World Day for Safety and Health at Work: The Role of Employers and Employees
Employers and employees both have a role to play in promoting workplace safety and health. Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy working environment for their employees, as well as for complying with regulations and industry standards related to workplace safety and health.
Employees, on the other hand, have a responsibility to follow workplace safety and health policies and procedures, report any hazards or unsafe conditions, and take steps to protect themselves and their colleagues from workplace hazards.
Employers can promote workplace safety and health by establishing a preventive culture, providing OSH training to employees, conducting regular workplace inspections, implementing hazard control measures, and involving employees in the development of workplace safety and health policies and procedures.
Employees can promote workplace safety and health by following workplace safety and health policies and procedures, reporting any hazards or unsafe conditions to their employer, and taking steps to protect themselves and their colleagues from workplace hazards. When employees are supported in their efforts to communicate potential issues, it helps to create a sense of social protection and a sustainable development of trust and magnanimity.
By focusing on true advocacy and education, by truly understanding the magnitude of the problem, we can create a social dialogue to help lesson the human cost of this daily adversity. Communication is a significant tool and an integral part of the global strategy to inform and educate both companies and workers alike to the trends of safety in the workplace.
The adoption of safe practices creates an environment where everyone feels safe and comfortable, which should be any businesses highest prioirty.
On World Day for Safety and Health at Work, it is important to recognize the importance of workplace safety and health and to take action to promote it in the workplace. By investing in resilient OSH systems and involving both employers and employees in promoting workplace safety and health, businesses can help ensure the wellbeing of their employees and the success of their operations.