Work-related fatal injuries and diseases have increased from 2.3 million to 2.78 million per year according to new data issued at the World Congress on Safety and Health at Work held in Singapore. ILO launched a call for concerted global action to address new and emerging occupational safety and health challenges. More than 3,500 occupational safety and health (OSH) practitioners, government, employer and worker representatives participated in the collaborative discussion at the triennial World Congress on Safety and Health at Work , which took place in Singapore.

The meeting, co-organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO), concluded with calls from the ILO and partners for concerted global action to address new and emerging occupational safety and health challenges. New figures released at the conference show that work-related fatal injuries and diseases have increased from 2.3 million to 2.78 million per year, highlighting the global cost of the failure to adequately address occupational safety and health concerns. An estimated cost of 3.94 per cent of global GDP per year, or 2.99 trillion US dollars. Data also reveal that youth are 40 per cent more likely to suffer work-related injury and illness, than older workers.

In the face of these challenges, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder noted ILO’s interest to engage in the development of a global coalition with key partners amongst other ILO initiatives promoting safer and healthier working conditions including for young people.

The work of Singapore, the host country, was also highlighted during the conference: “In little over a decade Singapore has developed the necessary OSH policies, systems and programmes and has lead the world in innovative approaches to improving safety and health in SMEs,” said Labour Administration, Labour Inspection and Occupational Safety and Health Branch Chief, Nancy Leppink, in her opening keynote address.

ILO’s leading role in promoting the right to a safe work environment
“The World Congress on Safety and Health is the time and the place that the global Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) community comes together not only to share knowledge, expertise and experiences but to identify partners and collaborators. In that respect, we fulfilled our objectives in this Congress,” said Leppink. “It is also where we see the expectations others have of ILO for setting norms and promoting fundamental rights at work.”

ILO interventions throughout the World Congress, earlier this month, underlined existing and emerging OSH challenges affecting the future of work, including the globalization of workforce, the need for reliable data on injury and illness, and protecting labour rights for workers in precarious employment including migrants, women and youth. ILO symposia and technical sessions at the World Congress set the stage for discussions on improving enforcement and compliance systems for labour inspectorates, and fostering and sustaining OSH knowledge exchange networks.

Source: ILO