World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Why safety and health at work is essential for social justice

In a statement to mark World Day for Safety and Health, the ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo, outlines the critical importance of safe and healthy working environments.

Date issued: 28 April 2023 | Size/duration: 1:36
10 years ago this month, more than eleven hundred workers died and thousands were injured when the Rana Plaza building collapsed.

I visited Bangladesh in the days after. I remember the shock and pain of the victims and families. Dealing not just with bereavement, but with the loss of bread-winners, their security, incomes and futures.

There could be no more brutal lesson about the importance of occupational safety and health.

We have an essential responsibility to ensure that people go to work and come home alive, uninjured, and healthy.

This year, on World Day for Safety and Health at Work, we can celebrate an important step towards this goal. The designation of a safe and healthy working environment as a fundamental principle and right at work.

All ILO Member States are now expected to respect, realize, and promote this principle, and the two fundamental conventions at its core.

It is the start of a long journey. But it is a step in the right direction, towards decent work and social justice for all.