To Occupational Safety and health practitioners, this day is as big as Christmas if not bigger. However, most people I interact with clients, friends, relatives etc. have never heard of it. The objectives of this article are to create awareness on the day, unpack this year’s theme and to give a brief history on the days origins.
We cannot adequately understand the importance of this day without first knowing the history of the Organisation that birthed it, the International Labour Organisation (ILO). This United Nation Agency was formed in 1919 to bring together Governments, Employers & Employees (tripartism) to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. Currently, there are 187 member States of which Kenya is included.
In 2003 the ILO begun to observe the World Safety Day in order to highlight the importance of prevention of accidents and diseases at work. They capitalised on their traditional strengths of tripartism mentioned earlier to enhance social dialogue amongst stake holders. The ILO being the global pillar for the promotion of Occupational Safety & Health resolved to use the day as an awareness tool to raise the political profile of OSH. It is important to mention that this date is also the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers organized worldwide by the trade union movement since 1996.
The theme for 2021 is;
“Anticipate, prepare and respond to crises – Invest Now in Resilient Occupational Safety and Health Systems.” I am particularly excited about the theme as it ties in closely with Empiric Advisors Motto of “Enhancing Your (Business’) Bottom Line”.
Resilience can be defined as an organisation’s ability to rapidly adapt and respond to risks such as natural disasters, civil unrest, cyber-attacks, energy disruptions, among others. Besides the ability to face the consequences of a major incident, business resilience also includes the capacity of an organization to adapt and adjust to a new environment and new circumstances.
Effective Occupational Safety & Health Systems are those that reach into every facet of the company’s operations. An OSH Management system has the following components;
· Safety & Health Policy (Leadership Commitment)
· Planning ( How to execute/implement the policy)
· Arrangements (Who does what and how)
· Performance Measurements
· Continual Review
With the Covid – 19 Pandemic, organisations all over the world were shaken to their core. This virus has changed the world as we know it. Various measures to mitigate against its spread have altered the way work is done. Some of these mitigation measures have as a result created new risks in the workplace. The ILO will be looking to share insights on how both governments and companies can invest resources that will enable them withstand this and future crises. I am looking forward to the presentations and real world examples of outcomes on both ends of the spectrum.
Everyone is invited to participate in this year’s event by registering through this zoom link; https://ilo-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_gQRpF6wtSyORi81Q_-3a3A
As I conclude my prelude to the main event, I would like to propose a linkedin challenge to make use of the new polling feature. Challenge a connection who is not a Health, Safety or Environment practitioner to ask their connections if they have ever heard of the world day for safety and health at work. I’m sure the ILO itself would love to see the results.
For now, I hope to E-see you all on the 28th of April 2021 if it is in God’s will.
ILO. (2021). About The ILO. Retrieved from ILO: https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/lang–en/index.htm
Resilience Definition: What Is It, Meaning, Examples And Areas Of Use. (2020, June 20). Retrieved from YouMatter: https://youmatter.world/en/definition/definitions-resilience-definition-meaning-examples/#:~:text=Business%20resilience%20is%20a%20business,supply%20chain%20disruptions%2C%20among%20others.
U.N. (2021). World Day for Safety and Health at Work. Retrieved from United Nations: https://www.un.org/en/observances/work-safety-day#:~:text=In%202003%2C%20the%20International%20Labour,of%20tripartism%20and%20social%20dialogue.