Towards a global culture of prevention
Working conditions have a major and direct impact on the health and well-being of workers.
- 2.34 million people die each year from work-related accidents and diseases
- Around 4 per cent of GDP is lost as a result of occupational accidents
The preservation of the health of every human being is therefore a key objective of social security.
What is the basis of work injury schemes?
Work injury schemes provide for compensation for work-related injuries and occupational diseases. The efficiency of a work injury scheme depends on a range of factors, the main indicator being the reduction of work-related accidents and occupational diseases. The concept of preventing occupational risks is therefore embedded in many of these schemes. They are supported by a legal framework, which defines the competencies, roles, responsibilities and spheres of action. Linking prevention to accident insurance compensation can enable effective mechanisms to reduce both accidents at work and occupational diseases, and to provide an incentive for employers to boost preventive activities in an enterprise, as it directly impacts on the contribution rate paid exclusively by the employer.
Prevention includes every measure aimed at preventing undesirable events that might limit or destroy the physical or mental soundness and wellbeing of the individual. It is a matter not just of ethical but also economic concern since successful prevention is beneficial to other social security schemes such as pension systems and general healthcare. It is also beneficial for workers, enterprises and society as a whole.
In a large number of countries occupational prevention activities have attained a high level of penetration. Statistics show that where investment in prevention measures has been made over a period of time, a significant decrease in work-related accidents and occupational diseases takes place.
With globalization and the fast pace of change in the workplace, new occupational risks are emerging. This can place new demands on safety and health strategies and, as a consequence, they may need to be adapted accordingly.
Prevention is at the heart of Dynamic Social Security
The concept of prevention is increasingly recognized as highly relevant to providing security under other social security programmes: e.g. preventing ill–health, preventing (long-term) unemployment, preventing poverty after retirement, and so forth. The successes and lessons learned in the area of safety and health are very useful for the other social security branches.