April 28th is the World Day for Safety and Health at Work. The global event was initiated by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to raise public awareness of the importance of safety, health and human dignity at work.
History: Beginnings of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work
The choice of April 28th as the date on which to observe the World Day has its roots in the Canadian Workers Compensation Act of 1914. This act, which passed on April 28th, 1914, led to the establishment of the first workmen’s compensation board (now Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) in Canada. Canada first began to observe a Worker’s Memorial Day on April 28th in 1985, which the country later declared a National Day of Mourning to honor fallen workers in 1991. The Worker’s Memorial Day began to gain traction outside of Canada as well, with the United States commemorating a day of remembrance in 1989 – and workers’ organizations in Asia and elsewhere began to embrace the idea as well. In 2001, the International Labour Organization (ILO) officially recognized the day, and it became known as the World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
Focus in 2022: Acting together to build a positive safety culture
Campaigns and events centered on making working conditions safer and more conducive to human dignity are an integral part of the World Day. In 2022, the ILO is directing its focus towards the social dialogue around safety culture. The organization defines a safety culture as “a culture in which the right to a safe and healthy working environment is respected at all levels, where governments, employers and workers actively participate in securing a safe and healthy working environment through a system of defined rights, responsibilities and duties, and where the principle of prevention is accorded the highest priority”.
How can safety culture succeed?
The definition makes it clear that everyone is responsible for ensuring the success of health and safety within their company by practicing safe conduct. When it comes to safety culture, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Our mission is to continually provide new inspiration for building and improving safety culture in collaboration with different experts from our EHSQ community.