The annual World Day for Health and Safety at Work is a UN conference which takes place annually around the 28th of April and is celebrated to help the countries all around the world to improve their safety standards and its main aim is the prevention of incidents and accidents at work and the reduction of the risk factors at the work place, according to the international labour standards.
This year’s World Day for Health and Safety at Work is going to focus on the environmentally friendly industries and the dangers involved in their development. This year’s campaign is trying to raise awareness on the fact that not always the so called green jobs, necessarily mean safe jobs. The organizers of the event from the International Labour Organizations (ILO), has planned many different initiatives for the 28th of April in Geneva.
The main points that are going to be discussed will focus on the Occupational Risks involved in the Sustainable Energy Industry- solar, wind, hydropower, bioenergy, and in the OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) risks in the “greening” traditional sectors like mining and extractive technologies, agriculture, forestry work, construction and nuclear energy. It seems to be widely accepted the belief, that necessarily a green industries, involve less risks than the traditional ones.
Any human economic activity involves risks for the workforce, whatever its “colour” is. A proper risk and hazard assessments are necessary without making a difference in order to ensure healthy and safe working environment. The transition to a greener economy worldwide is an event in human history like nothing else until the present moment. It is crucial for the survival of humanity, for our future and quality of life. Our society is technologically and scientifically advanced enough and can not permit the loss of lives and work related injuries during this process.
In many cases sustainable economy means sustainable jobs as well. The so called “green” jobs are meant to help improve the environment, revitalize the economy and create new employment opportunities. Still our society needs to avoid at any cost the rush and doing this transition and creating these new jobs for people too quick and without taking care of the risks which the process involves. As it was discussed before in our blog, some of the risks and hazards of the new “green” activities, could be easily avoided by improving the performance of the new tools and machinery used by the workers during their design and manufacturing. There are some specific hazards for each one of the new industries, some of them really dangerous and not known until recent improvement of the particular technological process, which needs to be thought trough and regulated by the health and safety professionals. For example, the solar energy workers could be exposed to a very dangerous carcinogen material (cadmium telluride) if adequate controls are not implemented.
The renewable energy sector is the fastest growing and the biggest job generator worldwide, as well as being the economic activity which gets the most investment and public support globally. That is why the process of fast growing new industries which in the mean time are employment creators and are helping to reduce the impact of the recent world economic crisis, needs to be regulated and all the possible risks assessed and workers taken care of. So watch this space to see what the future brings as our team of health and safety consultants will be posting updates for you on a regular basis.