'Major New Blueprint' for Global Safety Hailed

A new declaration adopted last week at a summit meeting is being hailed by the International Labour Organization as "a major new blueprint for constructing a global culture of safety and health at work." The meeting preceded the 18 World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Seoul, Korea, and was adopted by Jukka Takala, director of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), and about 50 other decision-makers, his agency announced July 4.

"The declaration marks a major step in the establishment of a preventative safety and health culture," said Assane Diop, executive director of ILO's Social Protection sector. "The ILO, in partnership with the International Social Security Association and the Korean Occupational and Safety Health Agency, are determined to continue tangible progress towards reducing the number of occupational accidents and diseases."

EU-OSHA is based in Bilbao, Spain. It encourages a safety culture in workplaces throughout the EU Member States and tries to reduce the current level of workplace fatalities (8,900 per year in the EU as a whole) and occupational illnesses.

The declaration says governments should consider ratifying the ILO Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006, as a priority, and should ensure workers are protected by an adequate system of enforced safety and health standards. Signers, aside from Takala, included Leo Carey, a vice president of the U.S. National Safety Council; South Africa's minister of labor; DuPont Group VP Mark Vergnano; Antonio Moccaldi, president of Italy's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Prevention; Yohtaro Sawada, president of the Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association; and Keith Williams, president and CEO of Underwriters Laboratories.

The 19th World Congress will take place in 2011.

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