World Day for Safety and Health at Work

All workers in all industries must be protected from infections

Country Director of ILO Bangladesh, Tuomo Poutiainen 's message on 2020 World Day for Safety and Health at Work was published in several newspaper supplements.

Comment | Dhaka | 28 April 2020
As we mark 2020 World Day for Safety and Health at Work, COVID-19 infections continue to rise globally and here in Bangladesh. The pandemic is posing enormous challenges for governments, employers and workers everywhere as they try to protect safety and health at work, while also addressing the needs for society and the economy to re-open.

Over the course of the past few decades, the world has witnessed a number of pandemic outbreaks that remind us not only of our fragility and mortality, but also of our humanity and resilience.

One outcome of the current crisis is the real need to step up investments in public health, social protection and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in the formal and informal sectors. Ultimately, the well-being of our communities and our economies depends on how well we protect our workers.

As some industries begin to slowly resume operations, the ILO has developed a three-pronged strategy to ensure a safer return to work. The first step is the adoption of several safety and health measures at work based on dialogue between employers and workers, and a shared understanding of coronavirus risks. To prevent transmission of the virus and safeguard workers, the ILO has developed Covid-19 specific OSH guidelines, together with the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE). All workers in all industries must be protected from infections. The ILO would like to thank the Government of Bangladesh for all its support.

Furthermore, the ILO is recommending employment retention through work-sharing and reskilling, in addition to essential social protection measures to ensure access to subsistence allowance, basic healthcare and income security for formal and informal sector workers.

The ILO is committed to working in unison with the Bangladesh government, employers’ and workers’ to help protect the nation’s 65 million workers against the ravages of Covid-19, hunger and poverty.

On this World Day for Safety and Health at Work, the ILO also wishes to express our heartfelt gratitude to all frontline workers – in hospitals, grocery stores, law enforcement, armed forces, DIFE, utility companies, delivery services, banks, voluntary organizations – all the dedicated men and women who are responding to our needs during this pandemic. We also thank those working from home to keep the economy moving while protecting themselves and others.