Accurate occupational data vital to save lives A construction worker cuts through a steel beam at a construction site in Luang Prabang, northern Lao People's Democratic Republic. Photo: ILO/Adri Berger
E
ven though more than 2.3 million fatalities and 300 million accidents resulting in injuries are estimated to occur in workplaces around the globe each year, the actual impact remains largely unknown, the United Nations International Labour Organization has warned, highlighting the need to “vastly” improve national occupational safety and health data (OSH).

“Reliable OSH data is indispensable for the detection of new hazards and emerging risks,” said ILO Director General Guy Ryder in a statement today, the World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

“It is indispensable for the detection of new hazards and emerging risks, the identification of hazardous sectors, the development of preventive measures, as well as the implementation of policies, systems and programmes at national and enterprise levels.”

Such data, according to the UN specialized agency, is also important for early detection and diagnosis of occupational diseases as well as with measures for their recognition and compensation.

One of the targets (target 8.8) of the eighth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG8), which calls for promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, specifically seeks to improve safer and more secure working environment.

“Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment,” reads the target and one of its indicators, the frequency rates of fatal and non-fatal occupational injuries (disaggregated by sex and migrant status of the workers), underscore the need for improving OSH data collection and use.

Countries that have good data are, therefore, better placed to fulfil their commitment to implement and report on the global plan of action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all under the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, noted Mr. Ryder.

ILO, on its part, has been continuing to supporting countries efforts to strengthen their capacity to prevent occupational accidents and diseases including through practical measures such as its OSH Toolbox.

The Toolbox containing resources to help improve the capacity to collect and use reliable of occupational safety and health data.

“Improved and harmonized OSH data facilitates meaningful comparative analysis and informed effective awareness raising [and facilitate] effective social dialogue on OSH issues among stakeholders including government, employers' and workers' organizations,” said the ILO Director-General, adding: “Accurate data will help to save lives. Let us make it a priority.”

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