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Analysis on global safety at work


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"Decent work must also be safe work"

"Decent work must also be safe work"

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  • Work-related illnesses can originate from working conditions in almost all occupations, caused by working without suitable protection in environments dealing with chemicals and toxic substances. The reasons for work-related illnesses such as bursitis and repetitive strain injuries can frequently be overlooked. One of the worst work-related illnesses is stress, and this is an illness which often fails to be acknowledged in any industry. 'Work Related Illnesses'
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  • 1. MGD 120 Course: Information for Development Professionals Analysis on Global Safety at Work “Decent work must also be safe work.” Juan Somavia, ILO Director-General Francesca Romana Armini
  • 2. Background (1/2) Although there has been progress on many fronts in the world of work, work-related deaths, accidents and diseases are still major causes for concern. According to ILO, each year an estimated 2.2 million women and men die as a result of occupational accidents and work-related diseases. Across the globe, there are some 270 million occupational accidents and 160 million work-related diseases each year. Sources: ILO, International Labour Organization, working paper “Facts on Safety at Work”,
  • 3. Background (2/2) Some numbers • Of these 2.2 million, about 350,000 deaths are from workplace accidents and more than 1.7 million are from work-related diseases. 158.000 of these are fatal accidents. • Approximately 4% of the world’s gross domestic product is lost with the cost of injury, death and disease through absence from work, sickness treatment, disability and survivor benefits. • Hazardous substances kill about 438,000 workers annually, and 10% of skin cancers are estimated to be attributable to workplace exposure to hazardous substances. Sources: ILO, International Labour Organization, working paper “Facts on Safety at Work”,
  • 4. Global estimated work-related disease mortality Causes of death No. of deaths Estimated percentage No. of deaths attributed to attributed to occupation occupation Cancer 30+ years 5,703,000 8% 456,240 Cardiovascular and 2,667,000 7.5 % 200,025 cerebral-vascular disease 15 - 60 years Chronic respiratory 2750,000 10 % 275,000 disease 15+ years Pneumoconioses 36,000 100 % 36,000 (proportional estimate from US figures) Nervous system disorders 604,000 2% 12,080 15+ years Renal disorders 15+ 655,000 2% 13,100 years Total 992,445
  • 5. Focus: Comparison between Italy and France (1/2) Accidents at work: incidence rate - With more than three days' absence (per 100000 persons employed) Italy 2000 1000 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 France 4200 4000 3800 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Source: Data provided by Eurostat
  • 6. Focus: Comparison between Italy and France (2/2) Fatal accidents at work (per 100 000 persons employed) 70 Italy 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 90 80 70 France 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Source: Data provided by Eurostat
  • 7. Legislation on safety at work at national level (1/2) Focus on Italian legislation: Historical overview 50’s: first regulation about work safety and health • (DPR 547/55 e DPR 303/56); 90’s: first modern directives • (D.Lgs. 277/92) concerning noise, asbestos and chemical agents; 00’s: new approaches to work safety • (D.Lgs. 626/94, D.Lgs. 25/2000) 2009: “Testo Unico” on Safety at Work (key points on the next page) • (D.Lgs. 81/08) Sources: Il nuovo Testo Unico sulla Sicurezza sul Lavoro, Simone Boschi, 2009.
  • 8. Legislation on safety at work at national level (2/2) “Testo Unico” on Safety at Work (D.Lgs. 81/08) Key Points: • Introduction of a Permanent Commission for Health and Safety at Work (Ministry of Work); • Introduction of Regional Committees for Coordination; • Introduction of a National Informative System for Prevention in workplaces; • Specification of employers, employees and medical doctors obligations and related sanctions; • Suspension of irregular productive activity; • Risks evaluation procedures; • Introduction of the Company Administrative Responsibility and related sanctions; • Introduction of a Prevention and Protection Service within the company; • Employers information and training about the risks linked to their jobs; • Introduction of Individual Protection Devices (risk-proof equipment); • Security requirements and prohibitions. Sources: Il Sole 24 ore, Documenti (Norme e tributi), 5/05/2008.
  • 9. Regulation of working conditions at international level (1/8) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948): Article 23 (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. Article 24 Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay. Sources: documents/udhr/
  • 10. Regulation of working conditions at international level (2/8) Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (1977): (36) Governments should ensure that both multinational and national enterprises provide adequate safety and health standards for their employees. (37) Multinational enterprises should maintain the highest standards of safety and health, in conformity with national requirements… They should also make available … information on the safety and health standards relevant to their local operations. …They should make known to those concerned any special hazards and related protective measures associated with new products and processes. They should be expected to play a leading role in the examination of causes of industrial safety and health hazards and in the application of resulting improvements within the enterprise as a whole.
  • 11. Regulation of working conditions at international level (3/8) (38) Multinational enterprises should cooperate in the work of international organizations concerned with the preparation and adoption of international safety and health standards. (39) … Multinational enterprises should cooperate fully with the competent safety and health authorities, the representatives of the workers and their organizations, and established safety and health organizations. …Matters relating to safety and health should be incorporated in agreements with the representatives of the workers and their organizations. Sources:
  • 12. Regulation of working conditions at international level (4/8) ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998): The ILO Declaration recognized four fundamental rights as the central plank of decent work, which are: • Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining; • The elimination of forced and compulsory labour; • The elimination of discrimination in the workplace; • The abolition of child labour. Sources:
  • 13. Regulation of working conditions at international level (5/8) OECD's Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2000): Recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises providing voluntary principles and standard in terms of employment and industrial relations. According to the Guidelines the enterprises should: a) Observe standards of employment and industrial relations not less favourable than those observed by comparable employers in the host country. b) Take adequate steps to ensure occupational health and safety in their operations. Sources:
  • 14. Regulation of working conditions at international level (6/8) Global Compact (2000): It asked companies to respect a set of values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, environment, and anti-corruption. Referring to safety at work and working conditions, it stated: Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; Principle 2: Businesses should make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses. Sources:
  • 15. Regulation of working conditions at international level (7/8) Millennium Development Goals (Millennium Declaration 2000): Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger Target 1.B: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people It should be noted that there aren’t MDG indicators directly referring to achievement of decent work in terms of reduction of work-related deaths, diseases and sicknesses. Work can only be decent if it is safe and healthy: this is why reduction of work- related deaths and diseases may be added as another indicator of Goal 1 achievement. The Millennium Development Goals and targets come from the Millennium Declaration, signed by 189 countries, including 147 heads of State and Government, in September 2000. (
  • 16. Regulation of working conditions at international level (8/8) ILO Conventions referring to safety and health at work: • Convention 102 concerning Social Security (Minimum Standards), 1952. •Convention 115 concerning the Protection of Workers against Ionizing Radiations, 1960. • Convention 119 concerning the Guarding of Machinery,1963. • Convention 130 concerning Medical Care and Sickness Benefits, 1969. • Convention 136 concerning Protection against Hazards of Poisoning arising from Benzene, 1971. • Convention 139 concerning Prevention and Control of Occupational Hazards caused by Carcinogenic Substances and Agents, 1974. • Convention 155 concerning Occupational Safety and Health, 1981 Sources:
  • 17. Conclusions and guidelines to solve the problem Experience and available studies have shown that preventative safety culture could be beneficial for workers, employers and governments both in avoiding workplace accidents and illnesses and improving business performance.
  • 18. The following are actions that should be taken: • Encouraging social dialogue between trade unions and employers; • Strengthening health and safety legislation through strong labour inspection. • Providing laws and services promoting safe and healthy workplaces. • Adapting work to the capabilities of workers in terms of their state of physical and mental health. Sources: ILO, International Labour Organization, working paper “Facts on Safety at Work”,