The World Day for Safety and Health at Work observed on the 28th of April every year. It was first introduced by the International Labour Organization in 2003 to emphasize on the prevention of accidents and diseases at the workplace. The theme of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work this year is ‘stop the pandemic’. The theme this year recognizes the challenges that government, employers, workers and society across the world are facing to combat coronavirus. According to the United Nations, World Day for Safety and Health at Work will focus on addressing the outbreak of infectious diseases, including the COVID-19.
As per ILO, this year the day will raise awareness on the adoption of safe practices in workplaces and the role that occupational safety and health (OSH) services play. The focus will also be on medium to long-term measures for preparedness and recovery into OSH management systems and policies at the national and enterprise levels.
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder underscored the importance of the safety and health of workforce on the occasion. Ryder said, “In the face of an infectious disease outbreak, how we protect our workers now clearly dictates how safe our communities are, and how resilient our businesses will be, as this pandemic evolves.” The ILO chief elaborated that it is only by implementing occupational safety and health measures that one can protect the lives of workers, their families and the larger communities and ensure work continuity and economic survival.
Although the theme this year emphasizes to stop the pandemic of Novel Coronavirus but the context of Bangladeshi workforce is quite different than that of other countries. They have to break the unofficial lock down and force to join their workplace specially the export oriented RMG Industry. It is still a under question mark how safe these workers are at their workplace. Post Rana Plaza we have seen so many initiatives to make the RMG workplace safe and workers friendly but the current pandemic directly shows lack of commitment of employers, buyers and brands. The Brands and Buyers became so silent and started either holding or cancelling the work order which made the employers more frightened and forced to work back. But uncertainty remains with the workers where they are still struggling for the due payment as well as loosing jobs without any notice. The conditions of the informal sector workers are even worst than that where they do not know what will be in their fate in coming days after this pandemic period over.
We need special measures for these workforce who risk their own life for us and secure a safe workplace to prevent occupational accidents and diseases.