World Day for Safety and Health at Work or Workers' Memorial Day has been celebrated every year on the 28th of April since 1970, when the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations declared it as a day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.
According to the International Labour Association's estimates, every year around 2.3 million workers die from occupational accidents and work-related diseases and 313 million workers suffer non-fatal injuries. This accounts for about 6,400 deaths every day!
And it is not only physical harm that raises concern. This year, “Workplace Stress: a collective challenge” is the theme of the campaign. Over 400,000 people suffer from stress-related illnesses caused by their work every year.
The European survey of enterprises on new and emerging risks has published a study on the topic of workplace H&S that shows that in the 28 EU member countries plus Albania, Iceland, Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Norway and Switzerland:
- Formal policies are more frequent in larger organisations
- Along with accidents and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), work-related stress is the principal OSH concern for European enterprises
- Only about half of the respondents inform employees about psychosocial risks deriving from their job
- Psychosocial risk factors are perceived as more challenging than other risks; almost one in five of those establishments reported dealing with difficult customers or experiencing time pressure that also leads to stress
Therefore, it is vital that this day is used not only for remembrance but also for campaigning and raising awareness on occupational safety and health.
Do you use this day for raising awareness about occupational health and safety at your company? Tell us about it #IWMD16