First published: April 13th, 2021
Last updated: April 26th, 2022
April 28th is World Day for Safety and Health at Work. This international campaign aims to “promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally.”
World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on the magnitude of the importance of occupational health and safety issues in the workplace. It also focuses on how promoting and creating a health and safety culture in the workplace can help reduce the number of work-related deaths and injuries.
This day serves as a reminder that it’s vital to have health & safety policies and procedures in place and to ensure they’re up to date. New and emerging occupational risks may be caused by technical innovation or by social or organisational change. World Day for Safety and Health at Work serves as a timely reminder to ensure everything is in order as we adjust to having employees back in the workplace.
The importance of creating a culture of health and safety at work
World Day for Safety and Health at Work places an emphasis on the benefit of having a strong occupational health and safety system. Adequate health and safety measures in the workplace play a crucial role in reducing the risk of injury as well as containing the spread of any diseases. World Day for Safety and Health at Work also focuses on the importance of enhancing social dialogue towards a culture of safety and health.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), “around 2.9 million workers die every year due to occupational accidents and diseases and at least 402 million people suffer from non-fatal occupational injuries. Examining 41 pairs of specific risk factors and health outcomes, the WHO/ILO Joint Estimates indicate that work-related diseases were responsible for 81 percent of all work-related deaths, with deaths due to occupational injuries accounting for the remaining 19 percent of work-related death.”
As an employer, you have a responsibility to ensure your employees' safety, health, and welfare at work, as far as is reasonably practicable. That’s why it’s important to regularly review your policies and procedures to align with new measures. Communicating any changes to employees, and underlining the importance of working safely, will create a culture where all staff will get on board.
Health and safety at work
Health & safety affects every business, regardless of size or sector. Whether you’re in the construction or catering business, you need to comply with health & safety legislation.
For Irish employers, this means, at minimum, carrying out appropriate risk assessments and ensuring you have a Safety Statement that sets out how health & safety is managed in your business.
Depending on your type of business, you may also need to train staff in areas such as manual handling. Manual handling training is a preventative measure that could save your business and staff a lot of pain down the line.
New health and safety challenges in the workplace
There are new health & safety challenges that employers now face as a consequence of the pandemic.
Many employees are working remotely, for instance, an arrangement that presents a range of health & safety considerations. Remote work looks likely to continue into the future too, as various surveys reveal that a large number of employees hope to work under a hybrid model.
This can make health & safety compliance more difficult as you must ensure a safe environment for employees to work in, whether it’s on-site or at home.
Need help with your health and safety issues?
For expert advice on any health & safety issue, our advisors are ready to take your call any time day or night on 0818 923 923.