The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work – the necessity of which has garnered much media coverage this week following another disaster in Bangladesh where 200 people have been killed in Dhaka, following the collapse of a garment building
Every day, 6,300 workers around the world die from the consequences of sub par working conditions like these. Yet out of this number 5,500 actually suffer from diseases – in particular, cancers, caused by exposure to chemicals. The ILO estimates, that out of 2.34 million occupational fatalities every year, only 321,000 are due to accidents.
Worldwide, occupational diseases continue to be the leading cause of work-related deaths. MSDs (Musculoskeletal disorders) affect almost a quarter of workers in Europe. The European Trade Union congress is also calling for more effective legislation against occupational cancers and drawing attention to the psycho-social risks associated with poor organisation of work.
The inadequate prevention of occupational diseases has profound negative effects not only on workers and their families but also on society at large due to the tremendous costs that it generates; particularly, in terms of loss of productivity and burdening of social security systems.
Prevention is more effective and less costly than treatment and rehabilitation.