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28 April 2013 - World Day for Safety and Health at Work

April 2013

The 2013 International Labour Office (ILO) World Day for Safety and Health at Work theme for this year is: The Prevention of occupational diseases.

Worldwide, occupational diseases continue to be the leading cause of work-related deaths. According to ILO estimates, out of 2.34 million occupational fatalities every year, only 321,000 are due to accidents. The remaining 2.02 million deaths are caused by various types of work-related diseases, which correspond to a daily average of more than 5,500 deaths. This is an unacceptable Decent Work deficit.

The inadequate prevention of occupational diseases has profound negative effects not only on workers and their families but also on society at large due to the tremendous costs that it generates; particularly, in terms of loss of productivity and burdening of social security systems. Prevention is more effective and less costly than treatment and rehabilitation.

Occupational diseases cause huge suffering and loss in the world of work. While much progress has been made in addressing the challenges of occupational diseases, there is an urgent need to strengthen the capacity for their prevention in national OSH systems.

With the collaborative effort of governments and employers' and workers' organisations, the fight against this hidden epidemic will have to feature prominently in new global and national agendas for safety and health.

The ILO report for the World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2013 outlines the current situation concerning occupational diseases and presents proposals for addressing this serious Decent Work deficit.

2013 ILO World Day for Safety and Health at Work publications are:

  1. Poster
  2. Postcard
  3. PowerPoint presentation
  4. Report: "The Prevention of Occupational Diseases"

All countries can take concrete steps now to improve their capacity for preventing occupational diseases.

The ILO calls on governments, employers, workers and their organisations to collaborate in the development and implementation of national policies and strategies aimed at preventing occupational and work-related diseases.

The ILO celebrates the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on the 28 April to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on emerging trends in the field of occupational safety and health and on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities worldwide.

The celebration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an integral part of the Global Strategy on Occupational Safety and Health of the ILO and promotes the creation of a global preventative safety and health culture involving all stakeholders.

In many parts of the world, national authorities, trade unions, employers' organizations and safety and health practitioners organize activities to celebrate this date.

Find out more on this year's campaign:

Trade Union Movement

Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most do not die of mystery ailments, or in tragic "accidents". They die because an employer decided their safety just was not that important a priority. Workers' Memorial Day (WMD) held on 28 April every year commemorates those workers.

All over the world workers and their representatives conduct events, demonstrations, vigils and a whole host of other activities to mark the day.

The day is also intended to serve as a rallying cry to "remember the dead, but fight like hell for the living".

The TUC coordinates activities across the UK, publishing a comprehensive listing of events and suggestions. A listing of the global activities is available from the Hazards website.

See TUC list of 2013 WMD activities to find out what is happening in your area. If you are organising an event for Workers Memorial Day and would like it displayed on these pages, then please email through the details to

For resources on Workers Memorial day including ribbons and car stickers please contact the Greater Manchester Hazards centre at:

This year the UK TUC is calling on health and safety representatives, trades councils and safety campaigners to make 28 April a day of action to defend health and safety.

This is a list of some of those events that are happening up and down the UK. Most will also feature a minute's silence at noon, or a suitable time. All are on 28th April unless indicated otherwise.

More information:

UK Memorial Website

Look also at the UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents Memorial website: