05/13/2005

ILO Factsheet: 2 million work deaths a year

One death every fifteen seconds. Six thousand a day. Work kills more people
than wars. And it injures and mutilates, too. Almost 270 million accidents are
recorded each year, of which 350,000 are fatal. Many of these tragedies could
be prevented, the International Labour Organization believes. And yet, twenty
years after the Bhopal disaster, which killed 2,500 people and injured 200,000
in the space of a few hours, the situation has scarcely improved.

The International Labour Organization, a UN tripartite agency
(governments/employers/unions), estimates that 2.2 million people die from
work-related causes every year: 750,000 women and 1,500,000 men. The difference
in the figures for men and women is mainly due to the distribution of the two
sexes within dangerous jobs.

However, as the ILO notes, the large number of women working in agriculture in
developing countries makes them particularly vulnerable to work-related
infectious diseases. ILO experts also point out that the statistics in any case
underestimate the real situation, given the lack of information and reporting
in many countries. But by any standards, six thousand deaths a day - one every
fifteen seconds - add up to more than the ravages caused by war each year.

Of these deaths, almost 350,000 occur during work accidents. The rest are due
to work-related illnesses. Thus, more than 400,000 deaths are caused by
exposure to chemicals. Such exposure is also responsible for 35 million of
the160 million cases of occupational sickness recorded worldwide. Every year,
one thousand new chemicals come on to the market, and more than a hundred
thousand different ones are used each day. Many of them, if handled
incorrectly, constitute a hazard. More than 300,000 cancers per year are due to
dangerous substances.

Further information (PDF)


AplusA-online.de - Source: International Labour Organization