26/04/2011

Workers' memorial day - 28 April 2011

Tim Tregenza

The European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks uncovered much interesting information. One of the most noticable was the correlation between the existenence of health and safety management measures and the presence of formal employee representation. For six key prevention measures, the presence of general employee representation is associated with a higher occurence of these key measures including risk assessments, analysis of sickness absence, and discussion of health and safety issues in high-level management meetings.

This correlation between preventive management actions and formal employee representation is very topical, as the theme for the 2011 Workers' Memorial Day is "Unions make work safer". Around the world actions are being planned for April 28 to remember workers who have lost their lives. From Angola to Buglaria, Canada to Denmark initiatives will highlight that more needs to be done to reduce the cost of poor occupational safety and health. It is worth noting that according to an Australian government study www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/AboutSafeWorkAustralia/WhatWeDo/Publications/Documents/178/CostsofWorkRelatedInjuryAndDisease_Mar2009.pdf, "in terms of the burden to economic agents, 3 per cent of the total cost is borne by employers, 49 per cent by workers and 47 per cent by the community".

Information on all memorial day activities can be found on the International Workers' Memorial Day Website. http://www.hazards.org/wmd/

EU-OSHA is a tripartite organisation. It recognises that whether taking action at a strategic level or in the workplace, the involvement of social partners is vital throughout the planning, implementing, and monitoring stages of actions and interventions. Worker safety representatives in enterprises can play a strong role in communicating the real hazards and risks in the workplace and how work can be done more effectively and safely. After all, it is the people who are doing the job that know what really works and what does not.

Finally, for more on April 28, see our page on the ILO's World Day for Safety and Health at Work osha.europa.eu/en/about/28th-april/world-day-for-safety-and-health-at-work

And have a look at the article (in Spanish) signed by our Director Jukka Takala published at http://www.gara.net/paperezkoa/20110428/262542/es/El-trabajador-debe-participar-evaluacion-gestion-riesgos