GENEVA (ILO News) ─ Some 4,000 industry leaders, policy-makers and experts from over 100 countries are to gather in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 29 June to 2 July for the XVIII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work.
The Congress, which meets every three years, is the largest international event of its kind and will address the current state of safety in the world of work and global efforts to improve it. In addition, it will also unveil pioneering new research on occupational safety and health as a key factor in environmentally-sustainable economic growth and development.
The Congress will also host a high-level Safety and Health Summit involving 50 decision-makers from around the world, including government ministers, CEOs of leading multinational companies, senior safety and health and social security experts, and representatives of employers and workers.
The Summit is expected to adopt an unprecedented Declaration on Safety and Health at Work, that will provide a new global reference point for addressing occupational safety and health issues around the world.
“As the global toll of illness, injury and death from occupational accidents and disease continues to remain at unacceptable levels, this Congress will underline what needs to be done to ensure that a healthy working environment can be achieved”, said Dr. Sameera Al-Tuwaijri, Director, ILO International Programme on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment. “Not only is safety at work desirable, it must be recognized as a fundamental human right in the world of work”.
The ILO has estimated that more than 2 million people die each year from work-related accidents and diseases, with a cost to the world economy of up to 4 per cent of global GDP. A new report to be launched at the Congress will provide the most recent revised estimates of the global impact of occupational accidents and disease, as well as examine what can or is being done improve safety at work.
Congress participants will focus on key issues in risk management, including the impact of the informal economy and migration on work safety; action for the elimination of asbestos-related risks; the potential risk of nanotechnologies; gender differences in hazardous industries; the improvement of work environments using ergonomics; HIV/AIDS and the world of work; and a wide range of other topics.
The Congress includes an International Film and Multimedia Festival with dozens of short films and multimedia presentations on occupational safety. An International Safety and Health Exhibition will run in parallel to the Congress, and will showcase safety technologies and products from over 600 companies.
Technical visits will be organized to see first-hand how safety and health issues are managed in major industries, including Samsung Electronics, SK Incheon Oil Refining Company, KIA Motors and the Incheon Bridge construction site.
Jointly organized every three years by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA), the World Congress on Safety and Health at Work aims at contributing to the development of a “preventive safety and health culture” through the exchange of information, knowledge and experiences. The XVIII World Congress is hosted by the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency (KOSHA), under the theme “Safety and health at work: A societal responsibility”.
The XVIII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work is open to media professionals. A Congress Press Centre for registered media will be in operation throughout the event, and press conferences and daily briefings will be organized. Press Centre staff will be available to facilitate interviews and locate sources.
Media registration should be completed online on the World Congress Website by 15 June 2008: http://www.safety2008korea.org/eng/press/press.jsp
The registration fee for media professionals is waived.
You may also contact Mr. Jung-Sun Park at the Registration/Media Accreditation Office of the World Congress Secretariat, Seoul. E-mail: email@example.com
Media queries and requests for interviews with ILO and ISSA representatives and occupational safety specialists can be directed to: Ms. Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman, ILO Department of Communication. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org - Mobile: +4179/365-3130.
Alexander Belopopsky, ISSA Promotion Unit: E-mail: email@example.com - Mobile: +4179/455-9080.
Daily reports, photo and video coverage of the World Congress on Safety and Health at Work will be available on the websites of the World Congress and of the co-organizers:
XVIII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work: www.safety2008korea.org
International Labour Organization: www.ilo.org or www.ilo.org/global/lang--en/WCMS_093745/index.htm
International Social Security Association: www.issa.int
Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency: www.kosha.net