World Day for Safety and Health at Work

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Every year some two million people die worldwide from work-related accidents and diseases. Not only is this a shocking and unnecessary loss of life, it’s also a huge financial burden on industry and government, costing around US$2.8 trillion in lost working time, medical treatment, compensation and rehabilitation.

Accidents and illness at work are completely preventable if the right occupational health and safety culture is in place. This is one in which every worker has the right to a safe and healthy working environment and where the highest priority is given to the principle of prevention.

While Australia’s work-related fatality rates have been steadily reducing in recent years, many hundreds of workers are still dying and being injured at work. This article looks at theWorld Day for Safety and Health at Work and its role in raising awareness of work health and safety, both here and across the globe.

What is World Day for Safety and Health at Work?

Initiated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an annual day held on 28 April aimed at promoting safe, healthy and decent work environments and practices.

It is an awareness-raising campaign to focus international attention on the extent of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities around the world and to highlight ways in which our workplaces can be made safer for everyone.

What’s happening in 2021?

Every year the World Day for Safety and Health at Work has a different theme, highlighting a particular aspect of workplace health and safety. In 2020, the theme was 'Stop the pandemic: Safety and health at work can save lives.' However, the theme for 2021 has not yet been decided.

How can you get involved?

Everyone can get involved in the World Day for Safety and Health at Work and there are a number of things you can do to help raise awareness on a local level. These could include:

  • Having a minute’s silence at your workplace on 28 April to remember those who have lost their lives at work
  • Organising a morning or afternoon tea to discuss health and safety with your work colleagues
  • Attending a workers’ memorial event in your local area
  • Having a safety expert give a talk at your workplace
  • Using the hashtag #worldWHSday2016 and discussing World Day for Safety and Health at Work on your social media networks

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