Filling data and knowledge gaps on occupational safety and health in global supply chains – A Vision Zero Fund project

The Action “Filling data and knowledge gaps on OSH in GSCs to strengthen the model of shared responsibility” is a central component of the Vision Zero Fund Strategy, and funded by the European Union (EU).

The VZF is an initiative of the Group of Seven (G7) countries, and has been endorsed by the G20 countries. Its goal is to prevent work-related deaths, injuries and diseases in global supply chains (GSCs). To do so, the VZF involves a wide range of stakeholders and resources to address the root causes of the most serious occupational safety and health (OSH) deficits in global supply chains (GSCs). Currently, VZF implements projects in eight countries (Colombia, Ethiopia, Honduras, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar, Lao PDR and Vietnam) and in three supply chains, namely garment/textiles, agriculture and construction.

To strengthen the VZF’s overall approach, the Action seeks to ensure that:
  • Actionable knowledge on OSH and GSCs is available to support industry public and private stakeholders’ decision-making and to inform the development of industry-wide strategies to address the most persistent OSH challenges in a sustainable manner; and
  • Reliable, up-to-date, sex-disaggregated data on the frequency of occupational fatal and non-fatal accidents, injuries and diseases in VZF project countries is available.
Actionable knowledge on OSH and GSCs

To date, research on OSH in GSC remain limited and fragmented. There is a dearth of knowledge on ways in which to leverage the potential of GSCs to improve OSH conditions. To help to fill this gap, the Action is developing and implementing a strategy to improve the knowledge base on OSH and GSCs, using a gender sensitive approach.

GSCs are undergoing profound changes driven by multiple global disruptive and transformative forces, including climate change and the recent COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the Action will focus its research efforts on gaining a better understanding of the impact of these forces on OSH in GSCs.

In addition, the Action is conducting synthesis reviews of all the available evidence on the drivers and constraints for OSH improvement and on workers vulnerability profiles (including gender-specific vulnerabilities) to occupational risks in the garment/textile and agriculture supply chains.

The findings from the research efforts will identify entry points for the development of effective strategies to ensure safer and healthier supply chains, and identify areas and topics for future research.

More reliable and gender-responsive data and statistics

Globally, the available data and statistics on occupational injuries and diseases fail to provide a true picture of the scale and nature of the impact of OSH. Underreporting of occupational accidents and diseases is common and national reporting systems frequently do not cover all workers such as those in the informal economy. Access to data that is more reliable is essential to raise awareness of the importance of OSH, to foster commitment and establish priorities, to inform OSH policies, and to develop strategies to prevent occupational accidents, injuries and diseases.

To contribute to fill the data gaps and improve capacities to analyse OSH statistics, the Action is undertaking the following activities:
  • Conducting a comprehensive mapping of the different types of surveys (such as household and enterprise surveys) to support countries in the development of such instruments to collect data on OSH.
  • Developing  two “quick guides”, namely one on interpreting OSH statistics; and another to enhance the capacity of employers and workers to comply with their respective duties to report, record and notify occupational accidents, injuries and diseases.
  • Supporting the development of the WHO/ILO joint estimates on the work-related burden of disease and injury.
The project contributes to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8, and in particular target 8.8. for the promotion of safe and secure working environments for all workers. To monitor progress towards SDG target 8.8, the Action contributes to increased capacity of ILO member States to report on the frequency rates of fatal and non-fatal occupational injuries (indicator 8.8.1).
"Filling data and knowledge gaps on OSH in GSCs to strengthen the model of shared responsibility" is a project of the ILO, funded by the European Commission DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.