ILO Promotes Sustainability, Safe Work

The International Labor Organization is promoting two related concepts: sustainability and safe work. Both will improve an organization's bottom line, ILO says.

ILO selected 11 pilot enterprises, with funding provided by Finland, to improve OSH systems in northwest Russia. The plants tested a new new ILO methodology for recording and reporting the economic costs of occupational accidents. Participants using the methodology (developed in Finland, Canada, and the United Kingdom) found the real cost of incidents was sometimes four to five times higher than they previously thought. "I will make no secret of it: Practically all participants in our group were quite skeptical at the beginning," said a chief safety engineer at a pulp and paper mill. "Indeed, I have worked at this enterprise for almost 15 years, and I thought I knew everything about it, especially on occupational safety."

The pilot group applied the methodology to 58 occupational incidents and found costs could be as high as $28,000 in U.S. dollars in 33 cases. The project published a brochure, "Reduce Risks – Cut Costs," that presents the methodology and is a reference for enterprises. The 11 pilot enterprises are introducing the ILO-OSH 2001 management system, which is based on a systematic approach to occupational safety and health.

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