Theme 2013: Prevention of occupational diseases
The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work. It is held on 28 April and has been observed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 2003.
28 April has also for long been associated with the world’s trade union movement’s commemoration of the victims of occupational accidents and diseases.
Worldwide, occupational diseases continue to be the leading cause of work-related deaths. According to ILO estimates, out of 2.34 million occupational fatalities every year, only 321,000 are due to accidents. The remaining 2.02 million deaths are caused by various types of work-related diseases, which correspond to a daily average of more than 5,500 deaths. This is an unacceptable Decent Work deficit.
The inadequate prevention of occupational diseases has profound negative effects not only on workers and their families but also on society at large due to the tremendous costs that it generates; particularly, in terms of loss of productivity and burdening of social security systems. Prevention is more effective and less costly than treatment and rehabilitation. All countries can take concrete steps now to improve their capacity for preventing occupational diseases.
As every year, the ILO Programme on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment prepared a report to serve as a background to the theme, a poster and other promotional material for the occasion. This report for the World Day for Safety and Health at Work outlines the current situation concerning occupational diseases and presents proposals for addressing this serious Decent Work deficit.