Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational and Environmental Victims (ANROEV) Statement for International Workers’ Memorial Day 2017
Let’s push the governments and relevant organizations for the collection of reliable OSH data for sustainable action
International Workers’ Memorial Day takes place annually around the world on April 28 as a day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), across the world:
- Each year, more than two million men and women die as a result of work-related accidents and diseases.
- Workers suffer approximately 270 million accidents each year, and fall victim to some 160 million incidents of work-related illnesses.
- Hazardous substances kill 440,000 workers annually – asbestos claims 100,000 lives.
- One worker dies every 15 seconds worldwide. 6,000 workers die every day. More people die whilst at work than those fighting wars.
However, the above-mentioned data are years old and not being updated on a regular basis due to challenges associated with occupational safety and health (OSH) data collection in many countries of the world particularly in the Asia and Pacific region.
The ILO recognize that the collection and utilization of reliable OSH data are indispensable for the detection of new hazards and emerging risks, the identification of hazardous sectors, the development of preventive measures, as well as the implementation of policies, systems and programmes at international, national and enterprise levels. OSH data provide the basis for setting priorities and measuring progress.
Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational and Environmental Victims (ANROEV) and its partner organizations Asia Monitor Resource Centre (AMRC) published a report in 2012 titled “Invisible Victims of Development – Workers Health and Safety in Asia” to highlight the severity of the problem on the ground in Asia with a detailed report from 6 Asian countries: China, India, Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia.
The absence of figures also highlights the invisibility of impacted workers and their families and most of the time even denial about their existence by governments in the region.
Yet they exist on the ground — impacted due to hazardous conditions at work and denied justice in terms of compensation, rehabilitation and dignity forming the most marginalized and exploited section of society.
Under the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and multiple ILO OSH conventions, recommendations and protocols, countries have committed to the collection and utilization of reliable OSH data. However, following are many of the recognized challenges associated with OSH data collection, which are organized into the following four categories: A) Coverage; B) Accuracy; C) Comparability; and D) Timeliness.
On the International Workers’ Memorial Day 2017 let’s continue to push the governments and relevant organizations for the collection of reliable OSH data so that workers health and safety in the world particularly in Asia can no longer be invisible, therefore, can be properly taken care of to uphold the four basic workers’ rights on OSH:
- The right to refuse to do dangerous work;
- The right education and training;
- The right to information; and
- The right to representation and participation.