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Health & safety

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Health and safety must be a fundamental principle and right at work. Health and safety at work is neither a perk to be bargained for nor a favour to be asked. It is our right. No wage is worth our health or our life, and no remedy can be granted by an arbitrator that will restore our health or our life, once it is lost.

Occupational health & safety

The vision of achieving zero harm and zero severe and fatal work-related accidents, injuries and diseases is proving to be a mirage. Employers continue to fail in their duty of care to their workers. The current global health and safety regimes continue to fail workers in what the ILO calls the enormous burden of poor working conditions.

The results of that burden are that:

  • Every 15 seconds, a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease
  • Every day, 7,600 workers die of work accidents or disease
  • Every week, 5,000 people die from lung disease or cancer due to exposure to asbestos

The social and economic costs of poor working conditions are enormous:

The human cost, like the pain and suffering of injury or illness, the suffering caused on family and dependents, the emptiness and emotional loss of family etc.

  • Lost production
  • Medical costs
  • Compensation for lost wages
  • Production disturbance
  • Administrative and legal overhead related to legal challenges for negligence and possible fines and or imprisonment

Because of the failure of employers in their duty of care and the staggering costs, It is high time to recognize health and safety as a fundamental right at work.

Every year IndustriALL commemorates and observes a moment’s silence on 28 April, a clarion call is made by the global union movement for a radical challenge to the business-as-usual approach to managing occupational health and safety – recognize and make health and safety a fundamental right at work.

IndustriALL Global Union joins the call made on the occasion of the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work in 2019 which declared, “Safe and healthy working conditions are fundamental to decent work”. The conference resolution subsequently adopted requested the Governing Body “to consider, as soon as possible, proposals for including safe and healthy working conditions in the ILO’s framework of fundamental principles and rights at work”, in the same way as the eight fundamental ILO Conventions do.


Contact person:

Glen Mpufane
Tel. +41 22 304 1845
Fax: +41 22 308 5055
e-mail: gmpufane


See Covid-19 page here.

You can find all information and publications related to the pandemic on this page.

Publications on health & safety

  • negotiating the return to work

Negotiating the return to work

  • COVID-19 - Advice for workers and employers 
  • Right to refuse or shut down unsafe work
  • Saving ourselves
  • Silica and sandblasting

Materials 28 April (poster)