World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2020

Opening address at the SafeDay webinar on Safe Return to Work

By Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the SafeDay webinar on Safe Return to Work, 7 May 2020, Makati City, Philippines

Statement | Makati City, Philippines | 07 May 2020
On behalf of the ILO, I would like to extend my greetings and welcome to the participants of this webinar.

I would also like to acknowledge ECOP, DOLE and our trade union partners for the exceptional collaboration and joint effort to organize this webinar and promote decent work including safe and healthy working environments for all workers.

My sincerest thanks to my colleague Yoshi Kawakami, Senior OSH specialist from the ILO Decent Work Team in New Delhi for accepting this invitation.

Last April 28, we celebrated globally the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, with focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on people’s lives and the way we work. We also recognize the enormous challenge that governments, employers, workers and whole societies are facing to stop the pandemic, contain the spread and protect the health of workers and the larger population.

Occupational Safety and Health is even more significant in this time of crisis. The need to ensure that workplaces are safe and healthy is imperative for us to be able to go back to our normal lives and minimise further disruptions to businesses and employment. The ILO warns that without adequate safeguards for returning workers there could be a second wave of the virus.

As the ILO Director-General said, “how we protect our workers now clearly dictates how safe our communities are, and how resilient our businesses will be, as this pandemic evolves.” The ILO has developed OSH checklists, risk assessments, and control measures.

At the country level, governments take action to prevent and control the pandemic with active involvement and dialogue with employers and workers’ organizations. Effective occupational preventive and control measures are crucial to save lives and to reduce potential economic and job losses. This webinar is indeed one of the key steps for social dialogue.

Most importantly, each and every one of us has an important role in building a culture of safety and health at work. It is my hope in this difficult time that we will continue to work more closely to mitigate the impact of this crisis, especially for the most vulnerable.

Finally, I wish you all a productive and successful session, and continued collaboration towards a new normal, which should be a better normal.

Thank you very much.