WASHINGTON — Safety and health at work is a basic human right, and a necessity for inclusive economic development. The International Labour Organization reports more than 2.3 million people die every year from occupational and work-related injuries and diseases. The human toll of these injuries and diseases is immeasurable. Economic consequences are also substantial, with an estimated annual loss of 4 percent to global gross domestic product.
To help galvanize global efforts to improve occupational safety and health, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs) today awarded a $10.5 million cooperative agreement to the International Labour Organization for a technical cooperation project to support the ILO's new Global Initiative on Occupational Safety and Health.
"Too many workers worldwide suffer from dangerous and unhealthy working conditions. We need a greater focus on prevention and enforcement efforts, particularly for vulnerable workers in hazardous sectors," said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Carol Pier. "We look forward to partnering with the International Labour Organization, a global leader in promoting and protecting labor rights, including the right to a safe and healthy workplace."
This technical cooperation project will begin with pilot projects to increase the capacity of governments, employers and workers in Vietnam and the Philippines to improve occupational safety and health, particularly for working youth. It will also include efforts to build and strengthen partnerships across international and regional organizations to share best practices, raise awareness and contribute to improved legislation and enforcement.
ILAB leads the U.S. government's efforts to ensure that workers around the world are treated fairly and are able to share in the benefits of the global economy. To these ends, ILAB has provided funding for more than 280 projects in more than 90 countries to combat the worst forms of child labor by providing assistance to vulnerable children and their families. ILAB also funds projects to address a wide range of workers' rights issues, including projects to support labor law reform and improve labor law compliance, in more than 70 countries across the globe. More information is available at www.dol.gov/ilab/.