The staggering truth revealed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) should shake us to the core: each year, a devastating 2.3 million people, fall victim to work-related accidents or illnesses. This means that every single day, over 6,300 lives are tragically lost. If this shocking reality fails to jolt the safety industry and regulatory authorities into action, then something is gravely amiss.
Globally, there are approximately 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million work-related illnesses reported annually. Tragically, these figures continue to rise, as the ILO’s periodic updates indicate a disturbing increase in accidents and ill health.
Let me share with you some significant findings from the ILO’s latest statistical data on worldwide occupational accidents, diseases, and work-related deaths:
- Diseases stemming from work claim the most lives among workers.
- Hazardous substances are responsible for a staggering 651,279 deaths annually.
- The construction industry experiences an alarmingly high rate of recorded accidents.
- Younger and older workers face heightened vulnerability. With the aging population in developed countries, an increasing number of older people are working and require additional consideration.
Therefore, as I highlighted in my previous article (linked HERE), it is clear that the safety industry, its affiliates, and the expanding web of complex safety authorities are falling well short of their obligations.
The simple truth is, they are NOT doing enough!It is said that insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly while expecting different results. If we continue on this path without humanizing safety and truly “connecting” workers to safety and its personal significance, we are doomed to an unwinnable battle, and thousands of lives will be lost every day, never returning home to their families.
As a safety professional, I find this reality nearly impossible to fathom, let alone accept. So, how can we rectify, or at the very least, improve these disheartening statistics in a meaningful and sustainable manner? I’m glad you asked.
The solutions are remarkably simple and straightforward:
• Engage “workers” in the development of systems and controls.
• Craft systems and procedures that speak ‘human’, free from incomprehensible safety gibberish.
• Make worker safety and well-being our utmost priority – and demonstrate it VISIBLY!
• Truly understand your people—their values, aspirations, and fears. Be a genuine leader!
• Cease imposing safety ‘upon’ workers; instead, let them actively participate, not as captives of compliance expectations, but as valued contributors.
• CARE! Nothing ignites motivation and inspiration quite like genuine, authentic CARE for one another!
It is evident that action MUST be taken. Let these words serve as a rallying cry to propel us forward, disrupting traditional and failing safety practices, and protect the lives of countless thousands.