Workers, occupational health and safety and primary health care
Workers, occupational health and safety and primary health care Health Services Public Services International 29 November 2011
How to ensure that primary health care meets the health needs of workers? Who will ensure? What will be ensured?
Who are the actors? Who is concerned? Health services:•Workers are invisible, indistinguishable and unidentified•Women workers and men workers differ
Who are the actors?Who is concerned? Employers:•Costs: of insurance, of services vs replacement•Health costs are rising; precarity is growing
Who are the actors? Who is concerned? Workers:•Workers have the necessary self-interest•Workers •Lack knowledge •Engage in unsafe/unhealthy work •Lack protection
What are the health needs of workers?In health services, workers are unexceptional: •Occupational link may or may not be salient •Worker/patient may or may not make the link •Health care worker may or may not be aware of the link
What are the health needs of workers? To employers: •Observed connections are seen •Unobserved connections depend on time, place, frequency
What are the health needs of workers? Workers have rights-based and responsibility-based issues: •Increased knowledge •Access to participation •Acceptance of prevention •Engagement and adherence
The degree of penetration of occupational healthknowledge in the overall knowledgebase of service providers in the health fieldis essential. Knowledge of relevant geographicaland epidemiological risks can be critical. Often, furthermore, employers hold important information on occupational diseases related to their field of work, owing to interest, experience, or necessity
West Africa Health SectorUnions Network (WAHSUN) 6 PSI health unions: Ghana (2 unions); Nigeria (2 unions)Liberia (1 union); Sierra Leone (1union)
Affiliate action. That:1. All Affiliate Unions/Associationsmust intensify education onOccupational Health and Safety atall levels in the health sector tocreate awareness and reduce theincidence of work place injuries
Affiliate action. That:2. All Affiliate Unions/Associationsadopt innovative mechanisms toidentify workplace hazards andinjuries and maintain workplaceincidents book for the recordingand documentation of work-related accidents
Affiliate action. That:3. All Affiliate Unions/Associationsensure the formulation of OHSpolicies, legal frameworks andstandards and form committees toensure compliance
Enterprise management/ Government action Management/Governments should:1. In practical terms ensure a safe workingenvironment and the availability of the correctequipment and disposable supplies in adequatenumbers. To reduce the high incidence of needlestick injuries, the supply of retractable syringesand needles is strongly advocated
Enterprise management/ Government actionManagement/Governments should:2. Institute periodic inspectionprogrammes for all facilities toidentify occupational hazards andtake immediate action toeliminate or reduce them
Enterprise management/ Government actionManagement/Governments should: 3. Direct the inclusion of OHS modules in all educational curricula at both Senior High School and Tertiary Institution levels to sensitize a prospective and potential workforce adequately towards occupational safety
Enterprise management/ Government action Management/Governments should:4. Take up health worker migration issues moreseriously to reduce attrition rate of healthprofessionals in the sub-region. Rightequipment, occupational health and safety,improved conditions of service, realistic salariesand other inducements should be provided tocurb the attrition
The right to participate in national policy-making•Ratification of ILO Conventions and Recommendations•Application at national level
The right to participate in national policy-making•Unions to make policy not just react to policy•Fundamental principles and rights at work – the core conventions – as important as OHS standards
ILO Occupational Safety andHealth Convention, 1981 (N° 155)“Each Member shall...in consultation withthe most representative organisations ofemployers and workers, formulate,implement and periodically review acoherent national policy on occupationalsafety, occupational health and theworking environment”.
Occupational health and primary health careLagging legislation opens doors topatient-centered and universalapproaches to integratedoccupational and health care
Occupational health and primary health careOccupational health and safety policies are Healthy Public Policies
Occupational health and primary health careUnions can provide leadership tonegotiate and steer health policy,alongside civil society, the privatesector, communities and thebusiness sector
“How primary health care can integrate/support the preventive services provided by workers volunteers and representatives?”can perhaps be more appropriately approached with the questions “When?” and “Where?” can this happen?
Global work: Making ILO Conventions and recommendations on OHS user-friendly: 1. 37 Standards and 19 CoP into plain language 2. Directory and key words 3. Matrix of ratifications by country 4. Applications, reports and surveys
Thank you for your attention Public Services International is a global trade union federation representing 20 million working women and men who deliver vital public services in 150 countries. PSI champions human rights, advocates for social justice and promotes universal access to quality public services. PSI works with the United Nations system and in partnership with labour, civil society and other organizations.