05/25/2007

WHO adopts 10-year action plan for workers' health

Workers represent half the world's population and are the major contributors to
economic and social development. Their health is determined not only by
workplace hazards but also by social and individual factors and access to
health services.

Despite the availability of effective interventions to prevent occupational
hazards and to protect and promote health at the workplace, large gaps exist
between and within countries with regard to the health status of workers and
their exposure to occupational risks. Still only a small minority of the global
workforce has access to occupational health services.

Increasing international movement of jobs, products and technologies can help
to spread innovative solutions for prevention of occupational hazards, but can
also lead to a shift of that risk to less advantaged groups. The growing
informal economy is often associated with hazardous working conditions and
involves such vulnerable groups as children, pregnant women, older persons and
migrant workers.

The present plan of action deals with all aspects of workers' health, including
primary prevention of occupational hazards, protection and promotion of health
at work, employment conditions, and a better response from health systems to
workers' health. It is underpinned by certain common principles. All workers
should be able to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental
health and favourable working conditions. The workplace should not be
detrimental to health and well-being. Primary prevention of occupational health
hazards should be given priority. All components of health systems should be
involved in an integrated response to the specific health needs of working
populations. The workplace can also serve as a setting for delivery of other
essential public-health interventions, and for health promotion. Activities
related to workers' health should be planned, implemented and evaluated with a
view to reducing inequalities in workers' health within and between countries.
Workers and employers and their representatives should also participate in such
activities.

The following objectives should be achieved:

  • to devise and implement policy instruments on workers' health

  • to protect and promote health at the workplace

  • to improve the performance of and access to occupational health services

  • to provide and communicate evidence for action and practice

  • to incorporate workers' health into other policies

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AplusA-online.de - Source: World Health Organization