World Day for Safety and Health at Work (World Day) will take place on April 28, 2021. The International Labour Organization (ILO) began observing World Day in 2003 to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally.

World Day is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases, and fatalities worldwide and to highlight the importance of creating and promoting a strong occupational safety and health culture in the workplace.

What is the magnitude of the problem?

  • The ILO estimates that there are 2.3 million fatalities worldwide each year from work-related accidents or diseases; this corresponds to over 6000 deaths every day.
  • Diseases related to workplace exposures cause the most deaths among workers; hazardous substances alone are estimated to cause over 650,000 deaths a year.
  • Worldwide, there are an estimated 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million workers who develop work-related illnesses annually.

What is the focus of this year’s event?

This year, recognizing the enormous challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, World Day will focus on addressing the outbreak of infectious diseases at work, in particular, on the COVID-19 pandemic. There will also be an emphasis on resuming activity in the workplace in a manner that sustains progress made in suppressing transmission.

Per the ILO, the pandemic has touched nearly every aspect of the world of work, from the risk of transmission of the virus in workplaces to occupational safety and health risks that have emerged as a result of measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. The ILO notes that shifts to new forms of working arrangements, such as the widespread reliance on teleworking, have presented many opportunities for workers but also have posed potential risks, including psychosocial risks and violence in particular.

The ILO will take this year’s World Day event to raise awareness and promote dialogue on the importance of creating and investing in resilient occupational safety and health systems to mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

For additional information on World Day, or for ideas on how you can promote this important event in your workplace, please email info@safetypartnersinc.com.

This blog was written by Beth Graham, our Associate Director of Quality, Research, and Training who has been with Safety Partners Inc. for the last 11 years.