28th of April: Annual World Day for Safety and Health at Work

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This coming Friday, 28th of April marks the 14th annual celebration of World Day for Safety and Health at Work, powered by the International Labour Organisation. The objective of this day is to promote the prevention of work-related accidents and diseases on a global scale.

“It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on emerging trends in the field of occupational safety and health and on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities worldwide.” – International Labour Organisation (ILO)[1]

Key stakeholders around the world take part in activities to help ignite the conversation surrounding improving preventive measures in the work-place. National authorities, trade unions, employers’ organisations and safety and health practitioners have been encouraged by the ILO to recognise their role and responsibility in promoting safe practices in the work-place.

Every year the world day focuses its efforts on bringing awareness to a specific aspect of safety and health in the workplace. 2017 is dedicated to help raise awareness and provide the necessary support to countries in order to optimise the collection of occupational safety and health (OSH) data in order to get the maximum use from this information.

In a series of official data sheets produced and published by the ILO, the organisation shines light on the basics that entities, countries and organisations need in order to maximise their data collection system and in-turn, improve safety in the work-place.

The ILO explains that a national system for recording and notification of occupational accidents and diseases is essential for:

  • Providing comprehensive and reliable data on the incidence of occupational accidents and diseases[2]
  • Publishing comparative national statistics and reports, and contribute to international figures[3]
  • Informing on preventive OSH measures ensuring appropriate and effective workers’ compensation schemes[4]

It is of the utmost importance to fortify the importance of data collection in order to guarantee effective measures are put in place to reduce occupational accidents and diseases. “Analysing the features of work-related fatalities, as well as of non-fatal occupational accidents and diseases, is critical to define priorities and design effective preventive strategies on OSH (Occupational Health and Saftey).”[5]

Ensuring that proper statistics are collected in an honest manner can help make sound decisions to ensure that the health status of the working population increases, identify key areas of improvement based on industry and socio-economic groups, increase employee engagement, design relevant training and education programmes, and ultimately, raise awareness and save lives.

A corporate focus: Five actions for better prevention

In an article published by the Telegraph, Dr Derek Yach, executive director of the Vitality Institute, a global health research organisation, and former director of the World Health Organisation shares valuable ideas about how employers can ensure their worker’s wellbeing: “Effective programmes lead to improved employee morale, retention, productivity and, in time, reduced healthcare costs[6].” Dr Yach encourages employers to consider the “5 global health need-to-knows[i]” for a healthy workplace[7]:

  • A corporate culture of health” with a strong contribution from top management.
  • “Focused attention to health risks that matter most”, including diet, smoking and lack of exercise, as well as attention to health screening and chronic disease management.
  • “Smart use of financial incentives and personalised health devices”, that facilitate health monitoring and provide longer term motivation.
  • Better alignment between personalised health programmes and workplace design features”. Healthy food and lifestyle offerings in the workplace ensure better adherence on the part of employees.
  • “Inclusion of metrics on the health of employees into integrated financial reports”. Provided medical confidentiality is adhered to, including health information along with other issues such as governance and diversity as a future performance indicator encourages more commitment to prevention.

In past blog posts Best Doctors has highlighted the importance of workplace health, well-being and illness prevention and encourages employers to communicate the value of employee health benefits and prevention programmes to staff. Click on the links below to read more:

Best Doctors, The Health Blog: A healthy approach to absenteeism

Best Doctors, The Health Blog: A phone call that can ease the pain

Best Doctors, The Health Blog: The future of company health care plans

Best Doctors, The Health Blog: Correct posture and musculoskeletal diseases

[1] ILO
[2] National System for Recording and Notification of Occupational Diseases – Practical guide. ILO, Geneva, 2013.
[3] National System for Recording and Notification of Occupational Diseases – Practical guide. ILO, Geneva, 2013.
[4] National System for Recording and Notification of Occupational Diseases – Practical guide. ILO, Geneva, 2013.
[5] ILO
[6] Powell, Jessica (30 March 2015) Employee well-being: a global approach to health. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk
[7] Powell, Jessica (30 March 2015) Employee well-being: a global approach to health. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk

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