Posted on Friday, 23rd April 2021
Wednesday 28th April is ILO World Day for Safety & Health at Work 2021. This annual worldwide event aims to highlight the importance of occupational health and safety awareness in order to save lives, prevent injuries and create safer working environments. In this blog, we take a look at the purpose of this campaign and break down what it hopes to achieve.
ILO stands for the International Labour Organization. They work in 187 countries to develop policies, programmes and standards to improve working conditions and practice. This includes fighting for fairer wages, improving workplace equality and preventing modern day slavery.
A key part of their mission is the improvement of health and safety standards for workers all around the world. Their goal is to make worker welfare a top priority for nations, and make discussions around worker health of international importance. Their cause has never been more important than during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an annual event set up by the ILO which looks to raise awareness of the importance of protecting health and safety at work. It encourages leaders around the world to take the prevention of accidents, injuries and preventable diseases at work seriously. It is supported by a whole host of organisations including the Health and Safety Executive and the United Nations.
This year’s campaign focuses on Covid-19 and how to reduce the spread of the virus. The pandemic has forced almost every workplace in every country to re-assess their working practices in order to protect their workers and the general public. World Safety Day 2021 aims to help employers anticipate, prepare and respond to the crisis by using existing frameworks for occupational safety and health (OSH) to reduce the risk of virus transmission in the workplace.
ILO figures claim that over 2.78 million people die every year due to injuries or diseases sustained at work, with a further 374 million non-fatal injuries preventing people from working for 4 or more days. Not only is this a great cause of pain and suffering, but it is also a major economic issue, especially for those in developing countries.
World Safety Day aims to draw attention to the need for employers, businesses and governments to do all they can to protect worker welfare. It’s hoped this focus on health and safety at work will encourage new labour laws and policies to be introduced, saving lives and reducing the number of workplace injuries in the future.
Health and safety at work refers to the management of any health and safety risks that workers may encounter while carrying out their job. These include hazards such as fire risks, performing manual handling operations, and a wide range of workplace-specific dangers. The nature of the business and working environment will dictate what measures and training needs to be put in place to ensure the safety of workers.
Health hazards in the workplace can be identified through a range of different methods including risk assessments and by speaking to staff. From here, employers can identify measures or training that needs to be introduced in the workplace. You can find out more about workplace health and safety training in our blog ‘Your Guide to Health and Safety Training at Work’.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is the main piece of legislation that sets out the responsibilities of employers in protecting the health and safety of their employees and members of the public. You may also see this legislation referred to as HSWA, the HSW Act, the 1974 Act or HASAWA.
As the name suggests, the act was introduced in 1974 to create overarching legislation that British employers need to follow to ensure that workers are safe when they are working. Since its initial introduction, the legislation has received numerous updates to keep it relevant to modern day working environments and practices. You can find out more about the act in our blog ‘How the Health and Safety Act Applies to Your Workplace’.
In addition to the health and safety act, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 also reinforce the requirements of employers in protecting their employee's health and safety. These regulations break down in more detail the employer's responsibilities in areas such as risk assessments and health surveillance.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act employers bare ultimate legal responsibility for their worker's health. It is their legal duty to protect workers from risks of occupational injury, illness and disease as ‘far as is reasonably practical’. This means that employers need to ensure they have put measures in place to protect workers from every identifiable risk in the workplace, and have procedures in place for responding to workplace accidents and injuries.
As well as requirements for the employer, there are a number of employee responsibilities for the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Workers have a duty to take care of their own health and safety, as well as those who they are working with or around. They must co-operate with co-workers and employers in working to the policies and procedures in place, and acting on any relevant training they have completed.
If you want to know more about how to protect the health and safety of yourself and those around you at work, why not look into completing one of our courses? This training will provide great piece of mind for employees and employers alike, and may even improve your employability prospects. But most importantly, this training could prevent serious accidents and injuries occurring in your workplace.
Our general health and safety training courses include:
For a full range of our health and safety courses, including those aimed at managers and supervisors, check out the health and safety courses section of our website. If you want to speak to a member of our team about any of the training we provide, you can call us on 0115 8970 529. You can also contact our team by emailing us at [email protected].