28 April 2016 – World Day for Safety and Health at Work
Sheila Pantry OBE
The theme of the ILO campaign for 2016 is “Workplace Stress: a collective challenge”.
The theme will draw attention to current global trends on work-related stress and its impact.
Today, many workers are facing greater pressure to meet the demands of modern working life. Psychosocial risks such as increased competition, higher expectations on performance and longer working hours are contributing to the workplace becoming an ever more stressful environment.
With the pace of work dictated by instant communications and high levels of global competition, the lines separating work from life are becoming more and more difficult to identify. In addition, due to the significant changes labour relations and the current economic recession, workers are experiencing organisational changes and restructuring, reduced work opportunities, increasing precarious work , the fear of losing their jobs, massive layoffs and unemployment and decreased financial stability, with serious consequences to their mental health and well-being.
In recent years, there has been growing attention to the impact of psychosocial risks and work-related stress among researchers, practitioners and policymakers. Work-related stress is now generally acknowledged as global issue affecting all countries, all professions and all workers both in developed and developing countries. In this complex context, the workplace is at the same time an important source of psychosocial risks and the ideal venue to address them in order to protect the health and well-being of workers.
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”.
Global: Gear up for Workers’ Memorial Day, 28 April 2016
The theme for Workers’ Memorial Day 2016 will be
In 2016 the theme for the day is “Strong Laws - Strong enforcement - Strong Unions” because across the world we are seeing growing attacks on health and safety protection, including in Britain where the Government have removed protection form millions of self-employed workers, and across Europe where the European Commission are pursuing a dangerous de-regulatory strategy. However strong laws are not enough if they are not going to be enforced. That is why we need proper inspections and enforcement action against those who break the laws. In the UK the number of inspections has fallen dramatically in the past five years, however in many other countries enforcement has always been non-existent. That is why we also need strong unions. Unionised workplaces are safer, yet the Government is trying to stop unions protecting the health and safety of their members by restricting the right of health and safety representatives to take time off to keep the workplace safer, and also trying to reduce our right to strike when things go wrong.
The UK TUC coordinates activities across the country, publishing a comprehensive listing of events and suggestions. A listing of the global activities is available from the Hazards website.
Find an event near you in the UK
See the list of 2016 WMD activities to find out what’s 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
See also http://28april.org
It adds slogans, twitter hash tag suggestions and other communication tools will be posted on the ITUC / Hazards 28 April web pages.
UK Memorial Website
Look also at the UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents Memorial website: www.sheilapantry.com/memorial
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