The International Labour Organization (ILO) has established April 28 as “World Day for Health and Safety at Work” with the aim of raising awareness and taking action globally to prevent accidents and occupational diseases.

 According to figures released by the ILO:

  • 2,200,000 people die from accidents at work and occupational diseases every year, an increase of 10% in recent years.
  • 270,000,000 are estimated occupational accidents and 160,000,000 cases of occupational disease.
  • Every 15 seconds a worker dies from an accident or work-related illness
  • By the end of this day 1 million workers will have suffered an accident at work and 5,500 workers will have died from an accident or work-related illness.

This means that Work kills more people than Wars.

In Cyprus, unfortunately, in recent years there has been a sharp increase in accidents at work, which confirms that a section of employers, in order to maintain and increase their profits, act to the detriment of the safety and health of their employees. The non-existence of risk assessment, inadequate protective measures, the lack of briefing and training of workers on safety and health issues, lead to terrible results, namely mourning victims of accidents at work.

These figures show that there is a lot to be done, especially with regards preventing accidents at work by employers. Employers must assume the responsibilities set by law and their social responsibility to their employees to minimize accidents at work and occupational diseases.

The role of the Ministry of Labour, and of the Department of Labour Inspection in particular, in the correct and effective observance and implementation of the legislation on Safety and Health is also crucial.

In recent years, PEO has submitted numerous proposals for improving the negative situation in Safety and Health, but unfortunately we did not have any response from the competent authority. Some of our proposals are the obligation of employers for education and training of newcomers to work, transparency in the investigation of accidents at work and the establishment and proper functioning of Safety Committees.

Today, when humanity is living in unprecedented conditions, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of working with Safety and Health is even more highlighted. In these difficult working conditions, employers must take all the necessary protective measures adapted to each sector of economic activity, ensuring the protection of workers’ health.

27 April 2021, Nicosia