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Making the world safer and healthier

The nature of wellbeing at work and the practical management of workplace risks were explored at the 21st World Congress on Safety & Health at Work.

The event, which was held in Singapore on 3rd to 6th September 2017, brought together occupational health and safety professionals, business leaders and government officials from all over the world to share their knowledge and expertise in making workplaces safer and healthier.

It is estimated that 2.3 million workers worldwide die every year because of workplace accidents and work-related diseases. Further estimates from the International Labour Organization (ILO) show that every day, 6,400 people die from occupational accidents and diseases and 860,000 are injured at work. ILO director general Guy Ryder said: “As well as appalling consequences for workers and their families, this represents a colossal social and economic burden on enterprises, communities and countries. Most occupational deaths and diseases are preventable and it would be a mistake to cut back on occupational safety and health, even in the face of economic downturn. Occupational safety and health is a basic human right as well as a labour right.”

Speaking at the event during the ‘Wellbeing through work’ session hosted by the National Safety Council (USA), Mike Robinson, chief executive of the British Safety Council, presented the business case for managing health and wellbeing in the workplace and explored the nature of workplace wellbeing.

He said: “While the business case for managing safety is well documented and understood, the case for managing health and wellbeing is just as compelling, but the progress is not as strong. Health conditions are much more difficult to define and manage. That’s why businesses need to adopt a holistic approach to promoting wellbeing and the resilience of their staff. Progress in relation to health and wellbeing can only be made when organisations will move beyond the need to comply with regulations and inspire employees to engage in wellbeing because this benefits them as well as their companies.”

The World Congress on Safety & Health at Work takes place every three years, and was this year hosted by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower, in conjunction with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA). Its work contributes to building a global prevention culture.