World

In the face of a pandemic: Ensuring Safety and Health at Work

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Introduction

Over the course of the past two decades, the world has witnessed a number of infectious disease outbreaks, which have shown a high speed of transmission. Currently, concern is growing over the continuing rise in COVID-19 infections in some parts of the world and the ability to sustain declining rates in others. Governments, employers, workers and their organizations face enormous challenges as they try to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and protect safety and health at work. Beyond the immediate crisis, there are also concerns about resuming activity in a manner that sustains progress made in suppressing transmission. This report highlights the occupational safety and health (OSH) risks arising from the spread of COVID-19. It also explores measures to prevent and control the risk of contagion, psychosocial risks, ergonomic and other work-related safety and health risks associated with the pandemic.

The ILO Centenary Declaration adopted in June 2019 declared that "safe and healthy working conditions are fundamental to decent work”. This is even more significant today, as ensuring safety and health at work is indispensable in the management of the pandemic and the ability to resume work.