Accidents cause 2 million lives, costs US$ 1.25 trillion annually- ILO
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) marked the World Day for Occupational Safety and Health on April 28 by highlighting the annual cost of accidents at work across the globe - 2 million lives and US$1.25 trillion in monetary losses.
Given the huge overall cost of poor workplace safety, the Director-General of the ILO, Juan Somavia, called for a culture of prevention, to significantly reduce workplaces injuries and illnesses. “Labour is not a commodity and markets must serve people,” said Somavia in a statement.
All over the world, millions of work related accidents, injury and disease annually take their toll on human lives, businesses, the economy and the environment. Each year, for some two million women and men, the ultimate price, is their lives.
In economic terms, the ILO estimates that roughly 4 percent of the annual global Gross Domestic Product, or US$1.25 trillion, is siphoned off by direct and indirect costs of occupational accidents and diseases, such as lost working time, workers’ compensation, the interruption of production and medical expenses.
Developing countries, where the rate of accidents has been increasing, face particular challenges, especially because most workers are in the informal economy where work related accidents, disease and death are likely to be unrecorded.
This year the ILO says it will focus on managing risk in the work environment. “We know that by assessing risks and hazards, combating them at source and promoting a culture of prevention we can significantly reduce workplace illness and injuries,” said Somavia.
“Employers, workers and governments all play key roles in making this happen,” he said.
This calls for sustained advocacy, effective social dialogue, and the promotion of relevant international labour standards, including the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (Convention 187). Practical measures such as sharing experiences and know-how is also expected to foster progress.