Message from Ms Ingrid Christensen, Country Director of the ILO on occasion of 2016 International Occupational Safety and Health(OSH) Day

28th April is commemorated as World OSH Day every year. Since last 11 years, the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan celebrates this day by organizing ‘OSH Awards’ with tripartite stakeholders to encourage corporate sector to compete in adopting good OSH practices. In 2016, more than 30 companies won OSH Awards in different categories. The event is supported by ILO through ‘Strengthening Labour Inspection System in Pakistan’ project.

News | 03 May 2016
As we commemorate this year’s international Occupational Safety and Health Day under the theme “Workplace Stress-A Collective Challenge” we recall that every year millions of people fall victims of work place accidents, occupational injuries and work-related diseases. From mines to chemical plants, from offices to fields, work-related accidents and diseases claim human lives and disabilities more than many of the global pandemics. The 28 April is also the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers organized worldwide by the trade union movement since 1996 with a purpose to honour the memory of victims of occupational accidents and diseases by organizing worldwide mobilizations and awareness campaigns on this date.

The ILO celebrates the World Day for Safety and Health at Work to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally and creation of a global preventative safety and health culture involving ILO constituents and all key stakeholders. Statistics, albeit still limited, suggest that the frequency of such accidents is higher in developing countries where growing industrialization is considered as a major route towards economic prosperity and where millions of people still find work in the informal economy. Asia being the host of some of these ambitious developing nations has gained the spotlight because of the unfortunate accidents that costed huge number of human lives in incidents such as the Baldia Town Factory fire in Pakistan (2012) and collapse of Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh (2013). Yet most work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths go unnoticed and unreported. Workers and families are commonly left unprotected and unaided to cope.

However, there is now a strong realization growing globally that occupational accidents and diseases cause great human suffering and loss and that safe and healthy workplaces are a prerequisite for sustainable and competitive businesses, therefore occupational health and safety (OSH) related measures are required. It is thus our fundamental obligation to keep the dignity of human beings and their work at the heart of our policies and endeavours. The Sustainable Development Goal 08 target 8.8 clearly articulates protection of labour rights and promotion of safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment as an international commitment for all of us to pursue.

The ILO advocates for the role of OSH management systems as a preventive tool to secure the lives and dignity of workers while they perform enormously productive tasks that often incite great risks and hazards at work places. The ILO hence promotes that OSH must be integral component of the strategies that facilitate productive employment and decent work. Promotion of social dialogue and tripartism are essential steps to encourage affirmative commitment and collective action by the Government, Employers’ and Workers’ Organizations and civil society organizations for a stronger preventative OSH culture in Pakistan.

On this day, let us strongly uphold our commitment and collaborate together to promote a safe and healthy environment at work.