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UN labour agency calls for new culture to promote workplace safety

UN labour agency calls for new culture to promote workplace safety

As thousands of people around the world gear up to draw attention to workplace safety issues, the head of the United Nations labour agency today called for a new culture of safety to help save the millions of lives and trillions of dollars lost every year due to work-related accidents and illnesses.

"Injury and disease are not 'all in a day's work.' Fatalities, accidents and illness at work can be prevented," Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), said in the lead up to the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, which will be observed on 28 April.

Each year, two million lives and $1.25 trillion of the global economy are lost to work-related accidents and illnesses, according to a report released by ILO to mark the Day. The report, entitled "Safety in numbers," also says that on average, working lives are cut by about five years due to work hazards or early retirements caused by disability.

"We must promote a new 'safety culture' in the workplace - wherever work is done - backed by appropriate national policies and programmes to make workplaces safer and healthier for us all," Mr. Somavia said.

To mark the Day, thousands of workers and employers around the world are expected to participate in activities to draw attention to workplace hazards. In Geneva, ILO will hold a roundtable discussion on the challenges of reducing the toll of death, injury and sickness at the world's workplaces. The discussion will focus on successful prevention techniques and their improvement of business performance.