World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2021

28 April 2021

The SARS-CoV-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented challenges for governments, employers, workers and the general public related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its many effects on the world of work. The World Day for Safety and Health at Work will focus on strategies to strengthen national occupational safety and health (OSH) systems to build resilience to current and future crises, building on lessons learned and experience gained in the world of work.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on almost every aspect of the world of work: immediate risk of contracting the virus, large-scale job losses in key sectors, company closures, mobility and air travel restrictions, lockdowns, school closures and the impact on global supply chains. The rapid changes adopted to cope have resulted in high levels of unemployment, lost hours and company closures, but also job insecurity for many workers. During the crisis, workers and enterprises in the informal sector have been particularly exposed to occupational safety and health risks because they lack adequate protections.

In addition to the risk of contracting the new coronavirus, workers in all sectors have been confronted with other hazards that have emerged during the pandemic, including heightened manifestations of work-related stress, violence and harassment. New work practices and procedures adopted to curb the spread of the virus may also give rise to new occupational safety and health risks, including chemical, ergonomic and psychosocial hazards.

The crucial role of international labour standards in the response to the COVID-19 crisis

The Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience Recommendation, 2017 (No. 205), outlines a strategic approach to responses to crisis situations, based on social dialogue. It stresses the importance of promoting safe and decent working conditions and calls for building resilience to prevent, mitigate and prepare for crises through risk identification and assessment, risk management and prevention and mitigation of negative consequences.
In the context of COVID-19, several provisions of international labour standards protect the safety and health of workers in a wide range of sectors and occupations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155), and its accompanying Recommendation No. 164, call for the adoption of a coherent national policy on occupational safety and health and for measures to be taken at the national and enterprise levels to promote safety and health and improve working conditions. They also set out the basic rights and responsibilities of employers and workers in the field of occupational safety and health, all of which are essential to prevent and mitigate the adverse safety and health effects of pandemics such as COVID-19 in the world of work. The World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2021 calls for building on the main elements of national occupational safety and health systems, highlighting how each element is equally important and relevant to these challenges.

How can Intersafe help improve safety at your workplace?

To face current and future crises, our PPE specialists support you every day in your strategies to strengthen occupational health and safety systems. Contact us to find out about all our innovative solutions to optimize your daily safety approach.

Source and link to Global Dialogue on Safety and Health at Work to respond to emergencies and crises.