Learn from the pandemic to improve workplace safety: UN labor agency |

Every year, almost three million workers die due to industrial accidents and occupational diseasesand hundreds of millions suffer non-fatal injuries at workUN agency informed.

According to a report published World Day for Safety at Work.

Guy Ryder, ILO CEO, said Occupational safety and health (OSH) remains at the forefront of national responses, even as countries continue to grapple with the consequences COVID-19and uneven recovery.

“Lessons learned from this crisis about the importance of social dialogue to promote safety and health at the national and workplace levels need to be applied in other contexts. This would help to reduce the unacceptable level of occupational deaths and occupational diseases that occur every year.

Cooperation and action

Entitled “Strengthening Social Dialogue to Build a Culture of Occupational Safety and Health”, the report notes that during the pandemic, governments that prioritized the active involvement of employers’ and workers’ organizations in OSH management were able to develop and implement emergency laws, policies and measures .

Collaboration has been critical to ensure that these measures are accepted and supported by employers and workers, meaning they are more likely to be effectively implemented in practice.

As a result, many countries have adopted legal requirements covering areas such as COVID-19 prevention and control measures in the workplace, as well as telework arrangements.

The report provides examples from countries such as Singapore where changes to vaccination rules have taken place following consultations and discussions between partners. In South Africa, tripartite discussions have led to a change in measures aimed at coronavirus spread in the workplace.

© UNSPLASH/Sigmund

People at work.

The value of tripartite dialogue

In some countries, dialogue between governments, employers and workers at the national level was followed by further consultations at the regional or sectoral level so that policies could be adapted to specific conditions.

For example, in Finland, trade unions and employers’ organizations have worked with the government to develop measures for the tourism and restaurant sectors, and in Italy, dialogue has resulted in the creation of detailed rules for telecommuting in the banking sector, which outline the right to privacy. and the right to disable.

According to the report, national tripartite OSH bodies have also played an important role in the fight against COVID-19. These bodies usually include government representatives, such as the Ministry of Labor and other relevant ministries and departments, as well as representatives of employers’ and workers’ organizations.

During the pandemic, many participated in the decision-making process at the national level. They were also involved in defining lockdowns and restrictions, return-to-work strategies, and other instructions or guidelines aimed at mitigating the impact.

The report provides examples from countries, including the Philippines, where two national tripartite OSH bodies have been involved in the development and implementation of ventilation quality guidelines in workplaces and public transportation as part of efforts to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 .

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