According to recent data, workers aged between 15 and 24 are 40% more likely to suffer from non-fatal occupational injuries than adult workers. In Myanmar, almost one quarter of the country’s total workforce is younger than 25. Approximately half of working children, some 500,000 young people, are engaged in hazardous forms of work.
Often pushed by poverty, young people start working from an early age. They enter the workforce with virtually no knowledge about occupational hazards and risks, nor any awareness about their occupational safety and health (OSH) rights.
Because there is a lack of reliable OSH reporting and data collection in Myanmar, we do not know the full scale of the problem in this country. But we do know that all workplace accidents and occupational diseases are preventable tragedies. We simply cannot afford to ignore this daily toll in human suffering, which represents a huge cost to society, and will hold back Myanmar’s developmentRory Mungoven, ILO Liaison Officer in Myanmar
The ILO marked this year’s celebration of World Day for Safety and Health at Work with the launch of a campaign under the slogan “Generation Safe & Healthy”.
The campaign links the World Day for Safety and Health at Work and the World Day Against Child Labour, and aims to accelerate action to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 8.8 of safe and secure working environments for all workers by 2030, and SDG target 8.7 of ending all forms of child labour by 2025.
The World Day was celebrated around Myanmar in different states and regions. The ILO and the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population (MOLIP) together with the Factory and General Labour Laws Inspectors (FGLLID), employers and workers organisations held a series of events to highlight the paramount importance of OSH for Myanmar’s sustainable development.
In Myanmar, the ILO has been working closely with the Government to strengthen the national OSH system, including through a new comprehensive OSH law, which is expected to be soon approved by the Parliament.
The ILO welcomes the Myanmar Government's commitment to put in place the necessary policies and plans to help create a culture of prevention on OSH, with a particular focus on the safety and health of youth, the next generation of the country’s workforce.
“The goal of building a safe and healthy generation can only be achieved through the combined efforts of many different actors, including the Government, employers' and workers' organizations, as well as civil society, youth organizations and importantly, young people themselves”, added Mungoven.
The ILO has a growing portfolio of OSH projects in Myanmar, including the SafeYouth@Work and the Youth4OSH projects which focus specifically on improving workplace safety and health for young workers.
Through the Vision Zero Fund (VZF) project in Myanmar, the ILO is also working to enhance prevention, protection, and compensation of work-related injuries, diseases, and deaths in the garment and agriculture supply chains.