Promoting safety and health in a green economy

The report highlights occupational safety and health (OSH) as an integral part of the promotion of green jobs and a greener economy to achieve an economic and social development that is also environmentally sustainable.

The report looks at different “green industries” from an OSH perspective, and shows that while green jobs improve the environment, revitalize the economy and create new employment opportunities, they may also present a number of known and unknown risks for workers. The greening of traditional sectors which will continue to provide the bulk of all employment and harbour most occupational safety and health risks can provide a major opportunity to make them safer and healthier, as well as energy efficient and environmentally sustainable, provided the right measures are taken.

According to the ILO report, “a true green job must integrate safety and health into design, procurement, operations, maintenance sourcing, use and recycling”. OSH mechanisms need to integrate the greening process into their policies and programmes of action. Policy changes are necessary to support approaches such as “prevention through design” in creating green jobs. Social dialogue among representatives of government, workers and employers is central to the prevention and management of occupational hazards and risks.

SafeWork has prepared this report to serve as a background to the theme for the World Day for Safety and Health at Work campaign in 2012.