Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: international work safety day focus on Covid-19

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Cyprus has the third lowest incidence of fatal work accidents in the EU in 2017, the latest figures available, according to Eurostat, which released the stats on Tuesday to mark World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

The annual international campaign, marked on April 28, aims to promote safe, healthy and decent work. This year’s campaign has a focus on the coronavirus pandemic and safety issues for when economies open up again.

According to the 2017 figures, Malta registered the lowest standardised incidence rate in 2017 with 0.57 fatal accidents per 100,000 workers, followed by the Netherlands with 0.78 and Cyprus with 0.85.

Among EU member states, 16 out of 27 EU Member States recorded a rate which was above the EU-average.

The highest incidence rates were recorded in Romania with 5.72 fatal accidents per 100,000 workers, followed by Bulgaria (4.30) and Austria (4.11).

The rate has fallen over the past seven years in the EU, from 2.87 fatal accidents per 100,000 workers in 2010 to 2.25 in 2017.

“In the European Union, over 2 million non-fatal work accidents resulted in workers being absent from work for four days or more in 2017, while 2,912 of work-related accidents were fatal,” Eurostat reported.

On Tuesday the International Labour Organisation (ILO) urged governments to “act to prevent and control Covid-19 in the workplace, with active involvement and dialogue with employers’ organisations and employees”.

According to a ILO statement, before employees go back to their workplace “all employers must first conduct risk assessments to ensure that their workplaces comply with strict occupational safety and health criteria to minimise the risk of Covid-19 exposure.”

Without such controls, countries will face the very real risk of the virus spreading again, the statement warned.

“On World Occupational Safety and Health Day, I urge all countries to ensure well-defined, adequate and safe working conditions for all healthcare workers,” said Andranom Gebreghesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation.

For his part, ILO director-general Guy Ryder noted that “the safety and health of our entire human resources are paramount.”

The International Labour Organisation, he added, “is taking advantage of this day to raise awareness about the adoption of safe practices in the workplace and the role played by occupational safety and health services.”

“It will also focus on medium- and long-term recovery and future readiness, especially on the integration of measures into occupational safety and health management systems and policies at the national and business levels.”

“Teleworking offers new opportunities for employees to continue working. However, employees must be able to negotiate these arrangements in order to maintain a balance with other responsibilities such as caring for children, the sick or the elderly and, of course, themselves.”

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