In 2003, the International Labour Organization (ILO) declared April the 28th as World Day for Safety and Health at Work. The day which has since been celebrated every year, places particular emphasis on the importance of preventing accidents at work as well as occupational diseases, primarily by making effective use of the opportunities offered by tripartite cooperation and social dialogue.
The theme of this year’s World Day is inspired by the International Labour Conference resolution, adopted in June 2022, which incorporates “a safe and healthy working environment” into the ILO’s framework of fundamental principles and rights. Through the launch of a coordinated universal dialogue at the international level, ILO aims to spread the message that access to a safe and healthy working environment, regardless of the size and economic activity of each enterprise and/or organisation, is a fundamental and inalienable #right for each individual worker. A right which cannot be subject to any discrimination, in particular with regard to race, gender, age, religion, etc.
It is worth noting that 28 April is also a day of remembrance for all those who have died or have been injured in accidents at work and was established as such in 1996 by employers’ organisations.
Therefore, in order to promote the prevention of work-related accidents and illnesses, the International Day for Safety and Health at Work reminds us that despite the remarkable research and technological progress in the field of occupational #safety and health, the number of occupational accidents and illnesses at work remains alarmingly high worldwide.
The challenges in occupational safety and health are constant and mounting due to the new order of things, with the #scientific community not being complacent and studying, among other things, occupational accidents, their direct and indirect causes as well as new forms of work such as telework and work using digital platforms and artificial intelligence technologies. The new data brought about by the digital transformation is accompanied by new and emerging risks, significantly diversifying the way in which risks are approached and addressed in the working environment. Scientific study findings combined with a positive safety and health #culture can provide the cornerstone of the occupational safety and health architecture, contributing to the development of new, revised and innovative processes and good practices.
CERIDES – Center of Excellence in Risk and Decision Sciences at the European University Cyprus, aiming to contribute to this effort through its multifaceted research work, presented on 25 April 2023, in a special event, the results of the RESPOND-A (HORIZON2020) research project, which integrates technological methods and in particular digitalisation in the study of risk assessment, focusing on high-risk occupations such as first responders. The event was attended by representatives of Cyprus Civil Defence, Cyprus Police, Cyprus Fire Service and other European Organisations.
In addition, the CERIDES research team, realising the prevalence of #teleworking and the need to manage the risks involved, has developed a specialised electronic teleworking risk assessment application Tele-WOSH, thus assisting employers and employees to ensure a safe and healthy working environment at the home of the teleworker and to comply with the legal provisions (www.telewosh.com)
In conclusion, 28 April is an international awareness day during which collective action is promoted to develop, foster and maintain a positive safety and health culture, highlighting the need for collective action, healthy communication and meaningful involvement of employers, employees, social partners and the state, thereby guaranteeing the right of workers to a safe working environment. The effort to improve occupational safety and health levels is not the task of a few, it is an effort of all, with science, technology and education as important allies.
Dr Olga Nikolaidou – Researcher in Occupational Safety and Health,
Dr. Cleo Varyanou Mikellidou – Lecturer in Occupational Safety and Health,
CERIDES – European University Cyprus