In a new report outlining the ILO’s message that no paid work should be a threat to your well-being, your security or your life, the agency identifies a number of new or existing occupational hazards, of growing concern, that affects more women than men.
These include modern labor practices in general, global population growth, increased digital connectivity, and climate change, which would account for nearly 4% of the global economy’s losses.
Women particularly exposed
“The world of work has changed, we work differently, we work longer, we use more technology,” said Manal Azzi, ILO, at UN News. “The report says that 36% of workers work excessively, or more than 48 hours a week.”
Noting that “people are increasingly being asked to produce more and more, they do not have time to rest,” said Azzi, noting that women are particularly at risk. This is because they tend to be the primary caregivers of children or parents and they lack the time to exercise, she said.
“Not only are you working when you’re at your desk, but you’re also working at home,” Ms. Azzi said. “So it’s a lot of sedentary work that also affects cardiovascular disease.”
According to the ILO, the largest proportion of work-related deaths – 86% – is due to illness. Some 6,500 people die each day from occupational diseases, compared with 1,000 fatal occupational accidents.
The main causes of death are circulatory diseases (31%), work-related cancers (26%) and respiratory diseases (17%).
“In addition to the economic cost, we must recognize the immeasurable human suffering caused by these diseases and accidents,” said Azzi. “These are all the more tragic because they are largely preventable.”
Launched during the ILO’s centenary year – and before World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28, the report highlights the importance of prevention to save lives: saving lives and encourage healthy work environments.
“The recommendation of the World Commission on the Future of Work of the ILO that safety and health at work should be recognized as a fundamental principle and right to work should also be seriously taken into account,” said Ms Azzi.
Since 1919, the ILO has adopted more than 40 international labor standards that promote health and safety at work. These are linked to specific risks such as ionizing radiation, asbestos and carcinogenic chemicals, to specific risk activities such as agriculture, construction and mining.
Source: SDG Knowledge Hub.