Theme 2014: “Safety and health in the use of chemicals at work“
The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work. It is held on 28 April and has been observed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 2003.
28 April has also for long been associated with the world's trade union movement's commemoration of the victims of occupational accidents and diseases.
As every year, the ILO Programme on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment prepared a report to serve as a background to the theme, a poster and other promotional material for the occasion. This report for the World Day for Safety and Health at Work outlines the current situation concerning occupational diseases and presents proposals for addressing this serious Decent Work deficit.
Why are chemicals important in the workplace and beyond?
Chemicals are key to healthy living and modern convenience. They range from pesticides that improve the extent and quality of food production, to pharmaceuticals that cure illnesses, and cleaning products that help establish hygienic living conditions. Chemicals are also critical in many industrial processes for developing products important to global standards of living. However, governments, employers and workers continue to struggle to address controlling exposure to these chemicals in the workplace, as well as limiting emissions to the environment.
What is a chemical?
- According to the ILO Convention on safety in the use of chemicals at work, 1990 (No. 170), the term “chemical” refers to chemical elements and compounds and their mixtures, whether natural or synthetic, such as those obtained through production processes.
- Hazardous chemicals are classified according to the type and degree of their inherent health and physical hazards. The hazardous properties of mixtures composed of two or more chemicals are determined by assessments based on the inherent hazards of their component chemicals.