28 April - World Day for Safety and Health at Work in Central and Eastern Europe

The ILO celebrates the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on the 28 April to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. “Safety and health in the use of chemicals at work“ is the theme for 2014. Several events were organized in Central and Eastern Europe to mark the day and commemorate victims of workplace accidents.

Chemicals are key to modern life, and will continue to be produced and used in workplaces. With concerted efforts, governments, employers, and workers and their organizations can achieve the sound management of chemicals for an appropriate balance between the benefits of chemical use and the preventive and control measures of potential adverse impacts on workers, workplaces, communities and the environment.

Recognizing the importance of workplace safety and health and the safe management of chemicals, government institutions and social partners marked the day by various events in Central and Eastern Europe.

In Albania, an extraordinary meeting of the National Labour Council was dedicated to workplace safety issues on 28 April with high representatives of the government, employers’ organizations, trade unions and media professionals. Minister of Social Welfare and Youth, Mr. Erion Veliaj presented the challenges for improvement in Albania as follows:
  • health and safety measures should be integrated throughout all work systems and processes,
  • appropriate preventative measures should be implemented in all workplaces to minimize the possibility and severity of occupational incidents and illnesses;
  • employers and employees should be aware of the importance of preventive health and safety measures, and will have the knowledge, expertise and commitment to apply these measures to their workplace;
  • culture of risk prevention and a holistic approach to health issues should be developed which goes beyond the workplace.
The ILO-EU IPA 2010 Project on Human Resources Development in Albania also presented occupational safety and health issues at the Job Fair of Tirana which took place from 30 April to 4 May 2014. Fact sheets and other awareness raising materials were distributed to the visitors.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a tripartite round table was organized to commemorate victims of occupational accidents and diseases on 27 April and to launch for validation a survey of these accidents and diseases. The survey was commissioned by the Trade Union Confederation of the Republica Srpska (TUCRS).

Participants identified the major challenges to the effective implementation of existing legislation such as: enhanced authority and capacity of the Labour Inspection and Public Services of Labour Medicine, generalized risk assessments of companies carried out by authorized providers and creation of safety and health committees at work in every company regardless of ownership.

The Macedonian Occupational Safety and Health Association in cooperation with the ILO also commemorated the world day on 28 April, 2014. The meeting was attended by 110 people including all the social partners and stakeholders in the field. The Macedonian Association presented its Annual Report of Accidents at Work in 2013 stating that 28 workers died and 70 workers were injured in the country last year. Finally, National Awards for Good Practices in Occupational Safety and Health were given to three Macedonian companies to promote good practices.

In Moldova, a tripartite round table on occupational safety and health was organized by the Labour Inspectorate with a focus on risks associated with the use of chemical substances. Presentations were followed by discussions of best practices in risk prevention at work including chemical risks. A separate commemoration of victims of workplace accidents was carried out by the National Confederation of Trade Unions, with participation of Ministries of Labour and Health, Labour Inspectorate, social partners and the International Labour Organization.

In Serbia, the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy and the Directorate for Occupational Safety and Health organized the commemoration of the world day in the “Bosko Buha” Theater in Belgrade on 28 April 2014. The event started with keynote addresses of representatives of the organizers, Labour Inspectorate, social partners and the ILO followed by an awards ceremony of the most successful small, medium-sized and large enterprises in the area of workplace safety. A theater play was also performed by the “Bosko Buha” Theater where victims of workplace accidents told their stories. It was co-organized with the Red Cross of Serbia. Finally, an outdoor exhibition of protective equipment was set up outside the theater including a small "construction site" with a display of good practices.

In Ukraine, a nation-wide awareness raising campaign was organized including the first national film festival and contest entitled “Safe Work – 2014” presenting 104 films, thematic meetings with workers in enterprises on safe working conditions, open lectures in universities, technical and secondary schools, exhibitions, sales of personal protective equipment and fairs, best workplace and best enterprise competitions, a mini-football match between the State Service on Mining Supervision and Industrial Safety of Ukraine, radio and TV broadcasts on actual problems of occupational and industrial safety, online discussions entitled “We provide with answers”, public service ads how to prevent occupational accidents and diseases, etc., a tripartite workshop and a press conference called upon by the Labour Inspectorate and social partners.

The ILO report on “Safety and health in the use of chemicals at work“ together with other information materials (posters, leaflet, etc.) were translated into Macedonian, Romanian and Serbian and were disseminated at the events and enterprises using or producing chemicals.