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Ways you can support International Workers’ Memorial Day and World Day for Safety and Health at Work

On Tuesday 28 April, IOSH encourages members to support International Workers’ Memorial Day and World Day for Safety and Health at Work. This year, both tackle the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

International Workers’ Memorial Day will remember all those who have tragically lost their lives at work during this health crisis. World Day for Safety and Health at Work will raise awareness of occupational safety and health (OSH) practices to keep workers safe during these challenging times.   

The latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) state that Covid-19 has already claimed more than 190,000 lives and there are over 2.8 million confirmed cases worldwide.

IOSH President Dr Andrew Sharman said:

“Occupational safety and health professionals have vitally important roles during the coronavirus pandemic. We help organisations and governments to protect lives and manage health, safety and wellbeing risks, as well as enabling business continuity.

“IOSH is supporting International Workers’ Memorial Day and World Day for Safety and Health at Work through a range of activities, from remembering the dedicated  workers who have tragically lost their lives during the pandemic to participating in global webinars to share our Covid-19 resources, which provide important information on managing workplace safety and health.”   

“I encourage everyone to get involved to help mark these two important initiatives.”

International Workers’ Memorial Day is organised by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) which is hosting a one-minute silence at 11am BST to pay tribute to all the sacrifices made of so many workers during this pandemic, and to thank all those who continue to do vital work at great risk to themselves in order to protect others.

The TUC is also encouraging OSH professionals to join its video call at 2pm BST on Tuesday to remember, show solidarity and to find out how to organise safer working conditions.

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said:

"We welcome the message of support today from IOSH as we remember those who lost their lives at work, or from work-related injury and illness.

"This year, we do so in the middle of our grief for colleagues, friends and family who have lost their lives to covid-19. The great tragedy is that many of these deaths could have been avoided with better protections where essential work is still taking place. And some of these workplaces still don't have adequate safety equipment and safety measures. 

"We could not have a starker reminder of the importance of trade union health and safety reps to protecting workers’ lives. We will honour those we have lost by organising in their memory to keep more workers safe."

Meanwhile, World Day for Safety and Health at Work will highlight safe practices at work and the role of OSH services.

The day is organised by the International Labour Organization (ILO), which is hosting a webinar at 2pm BST and 3pm CEST entitled ‘Stop the pandemic: safety and health at work can save lives’. Global OSH experts will present on a range of topics including safety and health and the response to the pandemic, the impact on mental health, and how to prepare for return to work under a risk-controlled scenario.

IOSH’s Head of Policy and Regulatory Engagement Richard Jones will participate in this webinar by giving insights into IOSH’s paper for ILO’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work – ‘COVID-19: How do OSH professionals impact public-policy?’. 

ILO Senior Specialist on Occupational Safety and Health Dr Manal Azzi said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic highlights just how important the safety and health of our entire workforce is to ensure communities are safe and businesses are sustainable.

“This year, on World Day for Safety and Health at Work, we’re calling for investment in safety and health in the many different working environments we are faced with to protect our workers but also to allow for business continuity.

“Joining forces with global renown institutions like IOSH is key to pass important messages around the world. The role of the OSH community has never been so significant in the global fight against Covid-19”.

On this important global occasion, IOSH is also hosting a webinar ‘Covid-19 in Nigeria: managing the pandemic – supporting the health and safety of workers, now and post lockdown in collaboration with the WHO, Lagos State Safety Commission, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria and the Federal Road Safety Corps on managing the pandemic in the region. IOSH Chief Executive Bev Messinger and IOSH Vice-President Kayode Fowode will be hosting the session at 3pm WAT.  

Finally, on 30 April, IOSH is hosting its next coronavirus webinar ‘Covid-19 and the global food supply chain: safety and health impacts and solutions. Expert speakers from ILO, World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will focus on safety and health of the people working in agriculture, processing, manufacturing and retail industries as they deliver essential services to billions of citizens affected by lockdown measures.

Find out more about International Workers’ Memorial Day and World Day for Safety and Health at Work and join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #IWMD20 and #WorldDayForSafetyAndHealthAtWork

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