Global: Respect Occupational Health and Workplace Safety as Fundamental Rights at Work – PSI

Baba Aye

We remember the workers who have died at work every April 28 and rededicate ourselves to fight like hell for the living.The Covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted the critical importance of workplace safety for the physical and mental health of workers.

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The health worker death toll due to the pandemic is at least 17,000. This means more than one health worker dies every 30 minutes. Workers across all other sectors have also been impacted to different extents.

“Every 12 seconds, there is a work-related death somewhere in the world”

Millions of workers continue to die due to lack of adequate workplace safety. Every 12 seconds, there is a work-related death somewhere in the world. Many more suffer chronic or acute diseases. Stress and burnout also contribute significantly to undermining the mental health of overworked and often underpaid working people.

This worrisome situation must stop. Despite the formal inclusion of occupational safety and health as a core aspect of the decent work concept, it is not yet an International Labour Organisation (ILO) fundamental right at work (FRAW).

ILO’s recognition of workplace safety as a key FRAW would lead to its inclusion along with freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining and conventions against child labour and forced labour as components of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW). In remembering the dead we will fight to win this recognition today, and until victory.

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