ILO urges governments to prevent workplaces from COVID-19

At a time when the pressure is mounting on countries to ease their lockdown restrictions, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has urged governments to take action to prevent and control COVID-19 in the workplace, warning that in the absence of adequate safeguards there could be a second wave of virus.

“All employers need to carry out risk assessments and ensure their workplaces meet strict occupational safety and health criteria beforehand, to minimize the risk to workers of exposure to COVID-19,” ILO said in its report on Tuesday.

“Without such controls, countries face the very real risk of a resurgence of the virus,” ILO said, adding that putting in place the necessary measures will minimize the risk of a second wave of contagion contracted at the workplace.

“In the face of an infectious disease outbreak, how we protect our workers now clearly dictates how safe our communities are and how resilient our businesses will be, as this pandemic evolves,” Guy Rder, director general of ILO said in the report.

According to ILO, this can only by done by implementing occupational safety and health measures that can protect the lives of workers, their families and the larger communities besides ensuring work continuity and economic survival.

According to the ILO, there is an urgent need to protect the most vulnerable workers and businesses, in particular those in the informal economy, migrant and domestic workers.

“Measures to protect these workers should include – among others – education and training on safe and healthy work practices, free provision of PPE as needed, access to public health services and livelihood alternatives,” it added.

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