ILO Calls for Promoting Safety and Health in a Green Economy

ILO24 April 2012: On the occasion of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has launched a report titled “Promoting safety and health in a green economy,” which stresses the need for the greening of the economy to be accompanied by the integration of workplace safety and health measures.

The report stresses that, while promoting a greener economy “does not make jobs decent, healthy and safe by default,” it “provides an opportunity to make all jobs healthier and safer, while benefiting the environment and society, provided occupational risks are identified and managed at the onset.” The report assesses the occupational risks in green jobs in various areas of economic activity that have been identified as having high potential for generating new green jobs, namely: renewable energy, including solar, wind, hydropower, and bionergy; waste management and recycling; shipbreaking; and agriculture and forestry. It also examines occupational safety and health issues in mining and extractive technologies; the transition towards energy-efficient construction and sustainable refurbishment; and nuclear energy.

The report concludes by outlining a way forward, stressing that as the green economy develops, the safety and health of workers must be integrated into policies for the creation of green jobs. It calls for the current focus on the transition to a low carbon economy to examine complex environmental problems from a multidisciplinary approach, integrating environmental aspects with occupational safety and health and public health, while taking into consideration the well-being of surrounding communities. [Publication: Promoting Safety and Health in a Green Economy] [ILO Press Release]