A global competition for a safer work environment

Cover art Samantha Gonzales

Words by

Digital Reporter

As a United Nations specialized agency dealing with labor issues around the world, the International Labour Organization (ILO) knows the occupational safety and health (OSH) risks that employment can bring to young workers. According to the organization, young workers are 40% more vulnerable to injuries on the job than their older counterparts.

“For starters, young workers are often relatively new to the world of work and may have only limited experience of how to stay safe in the working environment,” the organization said in a press release. “Young workers may lack access to good‑quality training on how to prevent occupational accidents, and may not even be aware of their right at work when it comes to OSH.”

In a bid to address these concerns, ILO has launched two initiatives that seek to promote the protection of young workers in all industries all over the world.

The SafeYouth@Work Media Competition aims to raise awareness about OSH issues through films, photos, videos, posters, stories, songs, and other creative works.

“[It] is designed to help put youth vision and voice at the center of discussion on preventing workplace accidents and diseases. We want young people to show the world what ‘Safety and Health at Work’ really means to them,” Jared Bloch, communications specialist at ILO headquarters in Geneva, was quoted as saying. “We want to see and hear what young people are saying about the work‑related dangers that young workers face in their daily lives and tells us how they and their community, friends, schools, and youth organizations can take action to improve the situation.”

In the Philippines, ILO said a large portion of the country’s population of people aged 15 to 24 is currently working in agriculture, manufacturing, and construction sectors that are faced with OSH risks and hazards.

The competition is open to people aged 15‑24 all over the world. Winning pieces under the 18‑24 category will be showcased at the XXI World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Singapore this September. Submission of entries for the contest is until June 30.

Meanwhile, the organization seeks to engage young workers and their employers in increasing the promotion of awareness and action about OSH through the Youth4OSH project.

“A safer working environment for young workers is a win‑win scenario for both employers and workers. To make this happen, our project will support key stakeholders with the communications tools they need to be able to more effectively raise the level of workplace safety awareness, in order to create a workplace culture of prevention and mindset that constantly promotes zero occupational accidents and diseases,” Dylan Tromp, project manager, was quoted as saying.

To gather ideas for the $1‑million project, ILO consulted officials from different government institutions, including the Department of Labor and Employment, National Youth Commission, Department of Education, as well as Technical Education and Skills Development Authority last May 29 to June 2.