According to the latest estimates of the International Commission on Occupational Health (2022), 2.9 million people die annually due to work-related accidents or diseases. This was recalled by Ítalo Cardona, director of the ILO Office for the Andean countries, for this reason, and in view of this dramatic situation, in June 2022, the governments, employers and workers of the ILO member states, meeting at the 110th International Labor Conference, made a historic decision: that a “safe and healthy work environment” be considered a fundamental right at work”, he stressed.
“Actors in the world of work have committed, as a shared and fundamental responsibility, to ensuring that people go to work, are free from violence and harassment, and return home alive, healthy and without physical or psychological injury,” he said. .
In Peru, making this right a reality for all working people is still a major challenge. Although the incidence of work-related deaths is lower than that registered even in the Americas (18.9 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants over 15 years of age versus 22.3 in the region), it is worrying that more than four thousand people die each year, if at least 19 occupational risk factors are analyzed (OIT/WHO, 2021).
Cardona warned that “this figure could be much higher if it is also considered that Peru has a very high proportion of informal work, with serious deficits in the quality of employment and in the protection of workers”. According to the latest data from INEI, the informality rate reached 75.7% in 2022, that is, almost 8 out of 10 people work in that condition.
Without health insurance to take care of an illness or accident, without work schedules, without the possibility of demanding safety equipment from their employers, with the daily stress of working for extremely low incomes and with unstable contracts, informal workers are who most need the State to implement the actions that ILO recommends to guarantee safe and healthy work environments.
The ILO director for the Andean countries noted that, “by raising occupational safety and health to the level of principle and fundamental right, Peru, as an ILO member country, should take urgent steps to ratify Convention 155 on safety and workers’ health (1981) and Convention 187 on the promotional framework for safety and health at work (2006)”.
These two agreements offer a clear guide to the countries to implement, through tripartite social dialogue, policies, systems and programs for safety and health at work, with concrete public policy measures and within the companies themselves; with well-defined responsibilities, duties and rights; and with actions aimed at promoting a culture of prevention at the national level.
In addition, and in accordance with both Agreements, Peru and all the countries of the region must consider, in their Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) plans and policies, not only the already known risks, but also those that may be generated. as a consequence of the changes in the way we work, the production processes and the materials used in those processes. This implies greater efforts by the countries to anticipate emerging risks -including psychosocial ones-, the adoption of a more multidisciplinary approach to safety and health at work, and the establishment of stronger links with public health, among others. measures.
“The ILO has made a commitment to strengthen its technical assistance to actors in the world of work to advance the ratification and full application of these international instruments to make the right of all people to a safe and healthy work environment a reality”, concluded the ILO representative in Peru.
Alia is a professional author and journalist, working at 247 news agency. She writes on various topics from economy news to general interest pieces, providing readers with relevant and informative content. With years of experience, she brings a unique perspective and in-depth analysis to her work.