The International Labour Organization warns that without adequate safeguards for returning workers there could be a second wave of the virus.
As the pressure mounts on countries to ease their lockdown restrictions, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has urged Governments to take action to prevent and control COVID-19 in the workplace , with active involvement and dialogue with employers’ and workers’ organizations.
All employers need to carry out risk assessments and ensure their workplaces meet strict occupational safety and health criteria beforehand, to minimize the risk to workers of exposure to COVID-19, says the ILO.
Without such controls, countries face the very real risk of a resurgence of the virus. Putting in place the necessary measures will minimize the risk of a second wave of contagion contracted at the workplace.
“In the face of an infectious disease outbreak, how we protect our workers now clearly dictates how safe our communities are, and how resilient our businesses will be, as this pandemic evolves.”
The ILO also highlighted the needs of the most vulnerable workers and businesses, in particular those in the informal economy, migrant and domestic workers. Measures to protect these workers should include – among others – education and training on safe and healthy work practices, free provision of PPE as needed, access to public health services and livelihood alternatives.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for strong national programmes to protect the health and safety of health workers, medical professionals, emergency responders, and the many other workers risking their lives on our behalf,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “On World Day for Safety and Health at Work, I call on all countries to assure well-defined, decent and safe working conditions for all health workers.”