Occupational Safety and Health

Finland joins ILO occupational safety and health programme

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder welcomes Finland’s support as a founding member for its new global OSH initiative.

Press release | 27 November 2014
HELSINKI — ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said he was “delighted” at Finland’s decision to become a founding member of the ILO’s new occupational safety and health programme to aid developing nations.

Speaking shortly after talks with Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, during a visit to Finland, Ryder said: “Safety and health at work is a fundamental human right and is essential for inclusive economic development.”

“I am delighted that Finland, with its recognized expertise, will join this Global Initiative on Occupational Safety and Health to help developing countries improve workplace safety,” he added.

The new flagship OSH programme, which is supported by G20 countries, will build on the ILO’s many years of experience in making workplaces safer.

Finland, an OSH leader

Finland, considered a world leader in OSH, becomes a founding member of the key programme.

"With Finnish occupational health and safety know-how we want to improve the working conditions of target countries by promoting work that is fit for humans,” said Finnish Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Laura Räty. “Work in which equality and safety prevails also improves productivity and competitiveness."

The programme will provide policy and strategy advice to governments, employers and workers in low and middle-income countries where OSH systems need to be strengthened.

“The ILO is uniquely positioned to provide a holistic response, based on its global expertise but equally on its mandate and experience in the areas of labour inspection, employment injury insurance and its standards and principles on OSH,” said Ryder.

Sustainable policy

Finnish development policy is based on sustainable use of natural resources, while supporting safe and healthy working environments.

“Sustainable change can only happen if people all over the world can live off of their own professional skill. It is also in the interests of Finnish employees for well-being at work, professional appreciation, and decent pay to be realized all over the world,” said Finland’s Minister for International Development Sirpa Paatero.

“Finland is participating in the ILO programme with a significant degree of input, both financially and by offering its expertise," she continued.

Estimates show that more than 2.3 million deaths occur every year as a result of occupational injuries and diseases, with overwhelming human loss, pain and suffering.

In addition to this human toll, occupational injuries and work-related diseases result in an estimated annual loss to global GDP of on average 4 per cent, or approximately USD $2.8 trillion in direct and indirect economic costs.

There is a growing momentum within the international community that more should be done to improve the situation, especially in developing countries.

The ILO created the Global Initiative on Occupational Safety and Health to tackle this global challenge with the support of partner countries, donors, employers’ and workers’ organizations.