SafeYouth@Work Action Plan


21st century youth have a critical role to play in building the Future of Work, including by securing their rights to occupational safety and health. To build a more promising future, youth need to collaborate with each other and with adults - on their own terms - to address the challenges of reducing workplace injuries and illnesses.

Stronger youth engagement is essential to meet the shifting challenges of globalization, and should therefore be a priority for policy makers, the social partners and all members of civil society. Public institutions must be prepared to support youth in meeting the challenge of determining their future, by providing them with the resources and the civic space they need.

The ILO SafeYouth@Work Action Plan is an important opportunity for youth, the tripartite constituents and civil society to work together to meet this challenge. The XXI World Congress on Safety and Health at Work for the first time provided a platform for 125 youth from around the world to engage directly with international OSH experts. This was an opportunity to make their case for safer and healthier working conditions and to propose youth-oriented approaches to achieve this objective. The SafeYouth@Work Action Plan seeks to further innovate ways to reduce the high incidence rate of injuries to young workers and lay the foundation for a culture of prevention on OSH. These solutions will directly connect with youth and will resonate at the same time with a broader OSH community to get all key actors involved in securing a safer and healthier Future of Work.

The SafeYouth@Work Action Plan

The 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 8.8 – Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment – presents an important opportunity to engage youth as a critical constituency. The SDGs also provide a platform from which young women and men can contribute to sounder OSH policy and more effective and sustainable interventions.

The Declaration of Philadelphia provides the International Labour Organization (ILO) with the obligation to further among the nations of the world programmes which will achieve adequate protection for the life and health of all workers in all occupations. The ILO pursues these commitments within the framework of the main ILO OSH Conventions and Recommendations.

Through their engagement on workplace safety and health at the SafeYouth@Work Congress, 125 young workers, employers, Government officials and students gained the knowledge and skills to strengthen their understanding and awareness of their workplace safety rights. The SafeYouth@Work Congress also enhanced important life skills such as problem solving, critical thinking and interpersonal skills.

Through these sharpened skills, exposure to OSH concepts, networking opportunities with global OSH experts, and collective action, the SafeYouth@Work Congress encouraged young persons to join together in achieving safer and healthier workplaces.

Key Actors and Critical Areas

Concrete steps under the SafeYouth@Work Action Plan will involve various key actors essential to driving sustainable reductions in youth OSH vulnerability. These actors include:

  • governments;
  • workers’ organizations;
  • employers’ organizations;
  • youth;
  • youth organizations.

For each actor the SafeYouth@Work Action Plan will identify concrete steps to drive change on OSH for youth across five areas of critical concern:

  • Research – research activities to enhance OSH knowledge and build a platform for evidence-based engagement by and with youth;
  • Education – education and training to foster work attitudes and knowledge that fully integrate safety and health for old and young workers and employers alike;
  • Compliance – OSH compliance policy to meaningfully address (young) worker and employer behaviour and drive efficient resource allocation;
  • Advocacy – advocacy initiatives to drive attitudinal change on the importance of protecting young persons on the job; and
  • Networks – building and leveraging networks and platforms to promote the exchange of knowledge and drive a culture of prevention.