Opening Remarks at the Commemoration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2017: The Launch of OSH4Youth and SafeYouth@Work Projects in Indonesia

By Michiko Miyamoto, Director of ILO for Indonesia and Timor-Leste at the Commemoration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2017: The Launch of OSH4Youth and SafeYouth@Work Projects in Indonesia

Statement | Jakarta, Indonesia | 28 April 2017
Good afternoon colleagues, friends, and distinguished guests,

On behalf of the ILO, I would like to warmly welcome you all to the event today on “Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and Youth in Indonesia”.

I would like to extend a special welcome our distinguished keynote speakers:
  • Ms. Nikasi Ginting, Secretary General, DPE FPE SBSI
  • Dr. Harjono, Head of K3 (OSH) Section, APINDO
  • Drs. Herman Prakoso Hidayat, Director for OSH Inspection, Ministry of Manpower, Government of the Republic of Indonesia
I would also like to welcome our two panellists:
  • Ms. Meilany Astining Asih, Head, Human Resources Department, CV Mubarok Food Cipta Delicia
  • Ms. Syarifah Ratnawati, Coordinator, Research and Development, Trade Union Rights Centre (TURC)
Ladies and gentlemen,

We have an exciting programme of speakers ahead of us this afternoon.

But before we get started, I would like to highlight three reasons why I am pleased that we have been able to meet here today:

Firstly, I am pleased that we have this dedicated time and space today to focus on the question of workplace safety and youth because we know that young people face some really significant occupational safety and health (OSH) challenges in the world of work.
You may be surprised to learn that young workers are 40 percent more likely than older workers to suffer injuries at work.

Why is this figure so high?
  • Young workers are often relatively new to the world of work and may have only limited experience of staying safe in the working environment.
  • Young workers may lack access to good-quality training to prevent occupational accidents.
  • Young worker vulnerability can be reduced if employers take simple steps to protect them. But when managers assign young workers to inappropriate tasks, or fail to recognize the additional protection that young workers need, the risk of harm is compounded.
  • Young workers often lack in knowledge and exposure how to protect themselves in their workplaces.
  • Even when they do, they may not feel confident to speak up.
  • When young workers see something hazardous in their workplace, they are often not sure to alert anyone until it is too late.
These are complex and challenging issues, and I am glad that we will have time this afternoon to:
  • Discuss and share our collective knowledge and experience when it comes to understanding these challenges better.
  • Pinpoint the root causes.
  • Identify effective solutions for how we can move forward together to reduce workplace injuries, fatalities, and occupational diseases and create a culture of prevention.
The second reason that I am pleased that we are meeting on this particular date is that today is World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2017. Celebrated on 28th April every year, this date promotes the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases around the world.

The campaign focus for Safe Day this year is the critical need to improve the capacity to collect and utilize reliable occupational safety and health (OSH) data. The theme of Safe Day this year resonates well with our focus today on young workers.

In the bigger picture,

The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its ‘SDGs’ or ‘Global Goals’, includes a dedicated target on the “promotion of safe and secure working environments for all workers”.

To measure progress against this target, all countries are asked to report on the “Frequency rates of fatal and non-fatal occupational injuries”. In the era of the Sustainable Development Goals, the capacity to collect and utilize reliable data on occupational safety and health has become indispensable.

The third reason that I am happy to see so many interested people here is that: We are launching today two exciting new initiatives to address the specific safety and health challenges facing young people in the workplace:
  • The Youth4OSH project
  • The Indonesia country component of the SafeYouth@Work project
These projects complement and reinforce one another:

Building on the recognition that young workers need to be engaged on safety issues directly if we want to create and effective and sustainable culture of prevention, the Youth4OSH focuses on the ‘demand side’ of the OSH equation, seeking to increase preventative safety actions by young workers and young employers.

Through this project, ILO will support 200 young people from around the world to take part in a SafeYouth Congress on safe and healthy working conditions for young workers, to be held in Singapore in September. A key purpose of the SafeYouth Congress will be to support the development of a new Global Action Plan on Safe Working Conditions for Youth, which will be launched exactly 1 year from now, on Safe Day, 28 April 2018. Today marks the beginning of a one-year global journey towards making that Global Action Plan a reality.

The SafeYouth@Work project includes important activities on the ‘supply side’, to ensure the protection of youth in the workplace. Through the SafeYouth@Work project, ILO will:
  • Train workplace safety committees on construction sites
  • Conduct research on the economic benefits of safety improvements that may demonstrate that a safer working environment for young workers is a win-win scenario for both employers and workers by showing that there is a strong positive return on investment for employers who invest in OSH prevention.
Young workers, their employers and Government authorities need best available tools and strategies for raising workplace safety awareness, in order to create a culture that constantly promotes the vision of zero occupational accidents and diseases.
We hope that the two projects that we are launching today will give new momentum to ILO’s work, together with our partners and constituents, to create this much needed culture of prevention.

Finally, I would like to take this moment to thank:
  • The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) Foundation for their support of the Youth4OSH project, which we will be launching here today.
  • The United States Department of Labor (USDOL) for their support of the Safe Youth @ Work project. We will be launching the Indonesia country component of SafeYouth@Work today.
  • Motion FM radio, who are facilitating the event today and who will be recording our panel discussion for broadcast next week.
I am very much looking forward to our discussion today.