Worker safety is a high priority

Ms Dagmar Walter, Director, ILO DWT/CO-New Delhi, provided presidential address at the webinar COVID-19: Practical Preventive Measures and Achievements- In context to the State of Kerala.

Statement | New Delhi, India | 19 February 2021
Namaskar and Good afternoon to you all!

It is a pleasure to collaborate with the Government of Kerala in organizing this 2nd webinar on ‘COVID-19: Practical Preventive Measures and Achievements- In context to the State of Kerala’.

In many Indian States, the lockdown measures are almost lifted and most economic activities are resuming. The World of Work appears on the path of recovery. However, this is the time to be more cautious towards health and safety of our workers and employers. The pandemic is not yet over and the risk of COVID-19 infection is still high!

Since the last webinar in August 2020, the government, employers and workers in Kerala have worked hard and made significant changes for preventing COVID-19 at the workplace.

Applying the good practices shared in the webinar, they have limited the cases of COVID-19 infection cases at their workplaces. Effective collaboration and cooperation between the tripartite constituents were two of the enabling factors to achieving this outcome. The ILO worked closely with the constituents. These efforts resulted in the building of a very close relationship with them.

To capture the voices of the constituents and stakeholders, follow-up interviews were conducted after the webinar. The participants commonly said that COVID-19 guidelines had been clarified and their questions had been answered. They have shared the ILO presentations that included photos of best practices in the workplace with colleagues and other affiliated factories.

I would also like to update you in this regard that in ILO we are developing a communication toolkit with 2D animation videos in order to ensure continued safe return to work with OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) components in place. The toolkit will be available very soon and is translated in Malayalam as well.

The government of Kerala has now launched the Kerala OSH Institute, which is a landmark step in terms of setting up state-level OSH institute in India. This fact presents the robust evidence of how much Kerala places a high priority on promoting health of safety of workers and that will no doubt benefit business continuity and productivity.

I am confident that together we will be able to make a positive impact.

I once again thank the Government of Kerala for initiating this webinar and I assure employers and workers our support in strengthening the recovery efforts from this crisis.

I am looking forward to the deliberations.

Thank you for your kind attention.