Safety by the Numbers (or How to Waste Trillions of Dollars)

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), 2.3 million people worldwide die annually as a result of occupational illnesses and accidents at work. In addition, there are 860,000 injury-causing occupational accidents every day. The direct or indirect cost of occupational illness and accidents at work is estimated at $US 2.8 trillion worldwide.

“These figures are unacceptable and yet these daily tragedies often fail to show up on the global radar,” says ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “Clearly, there is still much to be done. Serious occupational accidents are, firstly, human tragedies but economies and society also pay a high price.”

Calling for “a culture of intolerance towards risks at work,” Ryder comments, “Ebola and the tragedies it is causing are in the daily headlines – which is right. But work-related deaths are not. So, the task ahead is to establish a permanent culture of consciousness.”

Fatalities and injuries take a heavy toll in the United States as well: Nearly 3 billion workers are injured each year and the estimated cost to business of disabling worker injuries is $55.4 billion.

The human cost, of course, is incalculable.

“The challenge we face is a daunting one. Work claims more victims around the globe than does war: an estimated 2.3 million workers die every year from occupational accidents and diseases,” says Ryder. “Prevention is possible, it is necessary and it pays.”

See original article Sandy Smith did for EHS Today here.


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