Generation Safe and Healthy

Opening address at the World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2018 “Generation Safe and Healthy”

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2018 Generation Safe and Healthy, Sta. Rosa, Laguna, 25 April 2018

Statement | Laguna, Philippines | 25 April 2018
  • Secretary Bello represented by Assistant Secretary , Director Cucueco, Regional Director Ramos, Director Recio and DOLE officials,
  • Representatives and partners from the government, workers and employers organizations,
  • Mr de Guzman of the Laguna Technopark Association, Inc.,
  • Mr Dy of the Association of Occupational Safety, Health & Environment Officers of Laguna, Inc.
  • SafeYouth@Work Project Partners and OSH advocates, including organizers, who made this event possible:
    • the DOLE OSH Center,
    • the Employee Compensation Commission,
    • Laguna Technopark Association, Inc.,
    • the Association of Occupational Safety, Health & Environment Officers of Laguna, Inc.
  • Young people and volunteers, journalists, ILO colleagues and distinguished guests,
  • Ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
Every day, people die due to occupational accidents or work-related injuries and illnesses. Workers face hazards, thinking of how to provide a better life for their family and working hard for a brighter future. Yet, they are risking their health or even their lives, not knowing if they will come home safe and healthy for their family.

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work, which started in 2003, is about building a culture of prevention that respects the right of each person to a safe and healthy work environment. Special attention should be given to hazardous sectors and industries and to vulnerable workers, such as young workers who face high risks of workplace harm.

Held every 28th of April globally, the SafeDay campaign further aims to accelerate action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 8 on decent work and economic growth, through safe and secure working environments.

April 28 is also the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers organized worldwide by the trade union movements since 1996.

The economic impact of not investing in occupational safety and health is nearly equal to the combined Gross Domestic Product of 130 least developed countries in the world.

Meanwhile, the total cost of illnesses, injuries and deaths was almost 3 trillion US dollars or 4 per cent of the global GDP.

Countries suffer from such economic cost but how much more for families due to death of a sole breadwinner or member? Life is priceless and we should not turn a blind eye at workplace death, accident, injury or illness that can be prevented.

This year is significant with the “Generation Safe and Healthy” – a joint campaign to improve the safety and health of young workers and to end child labour.

Both World Days – the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, marked on 28 April and the World Day against Child Labour, marked on 12 June, call for a greater focus and a stronger integrated and concerted approach to build a culture of prevention on OSH and to end child labour.

Young workers and children face very significant risks at work. Their vulnerability arises from their being much less able than adults to assess risk and, because they are still growing, they are more vulnerable to hazards.

Of course, children should not work if they have not reached the legal minimum age. The reality, however, is that there are 2.1 million Filipino children, aged 5 to 17 years old in child labour.

An ILO survey on the current OSH knowledge, awareness and behaviour among young workers in agriculture and construction sectors in the Philippines, revealed that many young workers work in unstable conditions without contracts, social security or union representation. The survey covered Regions 4A – which is this region, 7 and the National Capital Region.

Young workers believe that complying with OSH rules takes too much time and that accidents only happen to unlucky people based on the survey. Employers on one hand, view OSH measures and training as time consuming and a business expense rather than worthwhile investments.

Such findings make our Generation Safe and Healthy joint campaign more significant than ever. We are honoured to see that the ILO is not alone in this fight against child labour and effort to build a culture of prevention.

We sincerely appreciate each of you, as we welcome initiatives and partnerships including the OSH caravan, which we are launching today in this economic zone.

We are glad to see innovative and creative ways to reach young workers through online games, learning kiosk, photo and art exhibits, mini-theatre and self-expression spaces. These are more than just tools and strategies, but ways to help save lives and to promote safe and decent work.

We look forward to succeeding stops of the OSH caravan –in rural areas, in schools and in communities where awareness on OSH and child labour is crucial. This is also a welcome initiative leading to the ILO Centenary or 100 years in 2019.

We must be prepared to support young people in their efforts to determine their future by providing them with resources and opportunities to be actively engaged.

Rest assured of the ILO’s support as we work together, gather more voices, and reach out to improve safety and health of young workers and to end child labour.

Thank you – have a safe and healthy work day today and always!

Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL-26690-14-75-K-11.

This material does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the United States Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the United States Government. One hundred percentage of the total costs of the project or programme is financed with Federal funds, for a total of 11,443,156 dollars.