The World Day for Safety and Health at Work on the 28th of April promotes the global prevention of diseases and occupational accidents annually. 

On the 28th of April every year, the International Labour Organization (ILO) endeavours to raise awareness and shine the spotlight on the perils our workers face every day. 

No matter which profession you’re in, there is a risk of injury or death at work or due to your working conditions. It is estimated that approximately 6000 people die every day from work-related injuries worldwide, and about 200 of those deaths are in Australia annually. 

The statistics for accidents and injuries are in the millions. The ILO estimates that more than 2.3 million men and women around the world are involved in a work-related accident or contract a work-related disease. 

International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers

It is also a day to commemorate and honour those who have died on the job. The trade union movement organised the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers. The day has been set aside to reflect and campaign for those killed and injured at work since 1996.

The ILO became involved with the campaign in 2003 to honour fallen workers and raise awareness and restart a conversation about health and safety. 

It’s essential to understand the causes of these injuries. Many incidents are unavoidable; however, with proper procedures and policies in place, it is possible to mitigate some of these injuries and death risks. 

Anticipate, Prepare, and Respond to Crises

The reach of the Covid-19 pandemic has hit epic proportions. 

It’s forced us all to take a long, hard look at how we do things in almost every aspect of our lives. From the constant sanitising, increased rates of working from home, and even how we greet each other, no one anticipated that this is how the world would look 2 years ago

What we can take away from the pandemic is the lesson that we need to be more prepared for disaster.

Within the trade sector, it’s crucial to anticipate and prepare in order to be able to respond to a crisis without loss of human life. This isn’t a new lesson for this industry- it’s been this way for decades- but it is always beneficial to review safety procedures to avoid complacency and potentially catastrophic results. 

Investment in Leadership 

The link between leadership and employee health and safety is a strong and undeniable one. Investing in the correct leadership allows for actionable policies to be invested in and put into place. 

In a bid to build resilience within our workers, a good leadership team should foster a culture of organisation, safety, and productivity. 

Workers- safe in the knowledge that they are safe and looked after- will also become more productive

In addition to the practical OHS procedures that should be in place, leadership needs to be prepared to manage the psychological aspects of health and safety.

Mental health issues are a massively under-reported issue within the trade industry. While a third of Australia’s workforce are tradies, a massive 58% of serious injury claims are from this sector. 

A disproportionate amount of deaths within this sector is due to suicide.

Due to the macho culture within these industries, many men feel unable to open up about worries and stresses. Internalising those kinds of burdens can often have a detrimental effect on mental health, leading to self-harm and suicide. 

Having a mental health advocacy programme in place can go a long way to maintaining your staff’s mental well-being. 

Health and Safety Practices Going Forward

Moving forward and into the next phase of dealing with COVID-19 means ensuring that your current policies are up to date. Guidelines are changing a lot less quickly than during the height of the pandemic. However, they are still evolving a lot faster than before 2020. 

The ILO is encouraging the use of resilient OHS policies to ensure that the industry isn’t impacted as profoundly by another potential outbreak in the future. 

The most recent crisis has taught us that workplaces are integral in the prevention and control of outbreaks. Adequate health and safety measures in workshops and offices, among others, can play a vital role in containing the spread of disease, protecting both society and workers. 

While we can only hope never again to see a crisis like the one we have faced in the last year, one positive thing to come out of this is a rise in health and safety policies as governments and business owners take a closer look at the actionable steps that they can take to keep their staff safe. 

On the 28th of April, join us in taking a moment to remember those who have lost their lives in the course of their jobs, and think about the steps you can take to keep your staff safe and healthy. 

If you haven’t had a chance to read our earlier blog about safety in the workplace for the New Year, we encourage you to take a moment to check it out.

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