International Workers’ Memorial Day – 28th April 2022
This year’s theme, “Make safe and healthy work a fundamental right”
Every working person should know that they have the right to expect that everything is done to keep them safe at work. Every year on April 28th, the International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) commemorates workers who are killed or injured at work. All around the world the trade union movement unites to remember those who have lost their lives at work or are made ill from work-related injuries and diseases.
Ahead of this year’s commemoration, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) General Secretary Sharan Burrow said, “We demand that the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopts occupational health and safety as a fundamental right at work. It’s as important as freedom of association and the elimination of forced labour, child labour and discrimination in employment.”
Three years have passed since the ILO Centenary Conference agreed that this would be done. In that time, around 8.1 million people have died as a result of their work, and even more now live with life-altering injuries and illnesses because their employer did not protect them.
Sharan Burrow continued: “The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated beyond doubt that working people can’t wait for this any longer. Workplace deaths are preventable deaths, and the latest figures show that a worker dies at least once every ten seconds. By doing this the ILO will be making a start on cutting this appalling toll of death and injuries.”
“Employers must take responsibility for assessing and eradicating risks in their workplaces and in their supply chains, and consulting unions on prevention through workplace health and safety committees.”
“And we need the ILO to do more and address challenges like stress at work, musculoskeletal disorders, and a convention on biological hazards like Covid-19. It is urgent that Covid-19 is recognised for the workplace threat that it is. Health and safety should be the first priority at work, not an occasional afterthought,” concluded Sharan Burrow.