SafeYouth@Work Action Plan

Young workers are vulnerable workers

Every day, approximately 7,600 people die from occupational accidents or diseases, and 860,000 are injured on the job.Safety and health at work should be strengthened for all workers, but with a particular attention to young workers, who are particularly at risk, suffering up to a 40 per cent higher rate of non-fatal work-related injuries according to available studies.

With approximately 40 million young people entering the global labour market every year, a major challenge for the international community lies in creating safe and healthy work opportunities for all and especially for the younger generation, large numbers of whom work in the informal economy and in hazardous activities in sectors such as agriculture and construction.

This SafeYouth@Work Action Plan was developed through the ILO’s SafeYouth@Work Project, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. The project aims to improve the occupational safety and health (OSH) of young workers above the minimum age of work up to 24 years, and to build a culture of prevention on OSH. The project strategy includes four main components: (1) Help countries collect and effectively use timely and relevant OSH data; (2) Work to strengthen legal and policy frameworks to better protect young workers; (3) Strengthen the capacity of tripartite partners to address workplace hazards and risks; and, (4) Increase global knowledge and awareness of the hazards and risks faced by young workers.

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How to use the SafeYouth@Work Action Plan and Matrix

In this context, the SafeYouth@Work Action Plan aims at improving safety and health for young workers, by proposing key actions that should be considered by Governments, employers and employers’ organizations, workers’ and workers’ organizations, and young people and youth organizations. Aligned to the strategy of the SafeYouth@Work Project these actions are organized in five priority areas:

  • Data and Research – This section looks at the collection and analysis of gender-sensitive OSH data and research carried out by Government and non-government agencies, OSH institutions, OSH experts, academic institutions, and others in the research community, including the analysis of root causes of occupational accidents, injuries, diseases, and incidents affecting young workers; in respect to these, it includes the identification of knowledge gaps to strengthen the knowledge base for preventive policy and practice;
  • Education and Training – The section looks at gender-sensitive education and training around the OSH of young workers and addresses: legal rights and obligations, the identification and control of workplace hazards, and prevention-oriented policies and practices and workplace compliance, with a particular focus on young worker vulnerability to OSH risks;
  • Compliance – This section looks at compliance, sound industrial relations, and joint procedures, including OSH policies and programmes that prioritize prevention measures to eliminate workplace hazards and risks with particular attention to young worker OSH vulnerability;
  • Advocacy – This section looks at advocacy, including the development and sharing of resources and materials to raise awareness on young worker OSH vulnerability and the need for special OSH protections for young workers. This is achieved via social media and targeted campaigns (among other means) to spur public demand for safer and healthier workplaces for young people; and
  • Networks – This section looks at the establishment and use of youth-centred networks to raise awareness, support research and knowledge development, and facilitate improvement and promotion of OSH for young workers. This includes Governments, social partners, research institutes, education institutions, professional associations, and youth organizations at sectoral, national, sub-national, regional, and international levels.

The accompanying Matrix, based on the SafeYouth@Work Action Plan, is intended as a guide and catalyst for ILO constituents, concerned stakeholders, and especially young people to take concrete steps to promote safe and healthy workplaces; it provides specific examples of actions to be taken for each stakeholder under each priority area.

How the SafeYouth@Work Action Plan was developed

At the XXI World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in September 2017, the ILO SafeYouth@Work Project organized a cross-generational exchange among OSH experts, policymakers, employer and worker representatives and youth representative organisations on the subject of OSH and youth. For the first time, 125 Youth Champions, representing various regions and backgrounds, were invited to participate in the event, providing them with basic OSH knowledge and giving them a voice in the proceedings. This included the inception of a process to develop the SafeYouth@Work Action Plan.

Consultations to develop this Action Plan were undertaken with Governments, workers organizations, employers organizations, OSH experts and youth during the A+A Congress in Düsseldorf, Germany in October 2017; the IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour in Buenos Aires, Argentina in November 2017; during the Labour Inspection Academy and OSH in SMEs programme at ITC-ILO in Turin, Italy in December 2017; and, at a Sub-Regional Consultation in Jakarta, Indonesia in January 2018. These consultations were supplemented by inputs received from youth and other stakeholders from September 2017 to January 2018 via an online platform. Overall more than 673 inputs were collected and processed by the ILO SafeYouth@Work Project team.

To bring together the inputs received and finalize the SafeYouth@Work Action Plan and Matrix, a Drafting Committee was convened in February 2018 comprised of OSH experts, hazardous child labour experts, representatives of employers and workers, and five Youth Champions. The result of these efforts is today launched as the SafeYouth@Work Action Plan.