Empowering Workplaces: Commemorating World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Commemorate the World Day for Safety and Health at Work and discover how it promotes safer, healthier, and more productive workplaces worldwide.

What is World Day for Safety and Health at Work?

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an annual international campaign on April 28 to promote safe, healthy, and decent work environments. Established by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 2003, industries worldwide support this initiative by holding seminars, workshops, and awareness campaigns to foster a strong culture of safety.


Companies across industries, regardless of nature and size, are encouraged to participate in World OSH Day because, according to the United Nations, “a safe and healthy working environment is a fundamental principle and right.” On top of that, the responsibility of ensuring safety lies with everyone involved, from top management to frontline workers.

This day serves as a reminder to maintain safe working conditions to reduce accidents, which bear significant human, social, and economic costs. Prioritizing the welfare of employees also results in increased morale, subsequently leading to higher productivity—a win for the business returns.

Finally, demonstrating a commitment to overall health and safety enhances the company’s reputation among its stakeholders and community.

Brief History

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has played a pivotal role in improving safety standards and practices in the workplace all over the globe. The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an ILO initiative that raises awareness and helps industries develop measures to prevent workplace accidents and diseases. Here are some specific examples:

  • United States – According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly three million nonfatal injuries and illnesses were reported from 2020 to 2022. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) continues to enforce standards to prevent hazards, mitigate risks, and promote a safety culture.
  • United Kingdom – The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recorded nearly 700,000 nonfatal injuries from 2019 to 2020. With the agency’s persistence in regulatory work, the numbers have gone down to over 550,000 from 2022 to 2023.
  • Australia – Safe Work Australia accounted for over a million compensation claims in the past decade, with 1.4 deaths per 1000,000. There has been a 30% decrease in the fatality rate—a win for the agency’s office’s strict implementation of regulations.
  • European Union – EU-OSHA continues to promote risk assessment, prevention strategies, and awareness campaigns. Through their continuous work with the United Nations – World Health Organization (UN-WHO) and ILO, they have seen significant progress across all member states in the last 50 years.

Coincidentally, April 28 is also the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers. By remembering those who have been affected by work-related incidents, World Safety Day honors them by driving improvements to protect every worker here on out.

Theme for 2024

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2024 theme will focus on the “impacts of climate change on occupational safety and health.” In particular, this year’s WHS Day will highlight the health and safety risks that workers are exposed to due to climate change, such as but not limited to:

By emphasizing adaptation to emerging risks, companies can be prepared for and effectively respond to new risks, the possibility of pandemics, and the effects of globalization.

How to Involve Employees

The full participation of workers is vital in occupational health and safety since they have firsthand experience of operational dangers and are partners in prevention and mitigation. ILO’s Work Safety Day endeavors that everyone should feel responsible for their well-being, their colleagues, and the community they serve.

Here are some ways to effectively implement best practices:

Employee Engagement

Empowered workers are more committed to safety practices since they contribute valuable insights for improvement and actively participate in various initiatives, including World Day for Safety and Health at Work activities.

Aside from including them in safety committees that meet quarterly or biannually for decision-making processes, here are some valuable tips to foster a sense of ownership:

According to Forbes, Salesforce and Cisco are some of the best companies to work for since they have shown commitment to engage their employees and increase their morale at work.

Comprehensive Training

Communicating safety is not just about telling workers to be careful in the field. Proper training equips employees with the knowledge and skills to identify hazards, mitigate risks, and resolve safety incidents. Aside from onboarding and safety orientations, workers should get regular refresher courses.

  • Develop training programs based on job roles and specific hazards. For example, logistics personnel should learn ergonomics safety, while mining engineers and geologists should understand the use of their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Deliver bite-sized and interactive modules that workers can review at their convenience.
  • Hold five to ten-minute toolbox talks daily to prop safety before the shift starts.

Caterpillar, Boeing, and Texas Instruments are just a few enterprises known for their comprehensive training programs that protect workers, significantly helping them to focus on their responsibilities.

Continuous Improvement and Adaptation

Safety standards should evolve alongside new hazards, dynamic technologies, and changing regulations. Organizations that can adapt to challenges do not just maintain compliance but also thrive in the ever-changing landscape of their industry.

  • Encourage proactive hazard and incident reporting to implement corrective actions promptly.
  • Establish a system for collecting and analyzing data. Integrating software into the company’s current system helps by digitizing documents and automating workflows.
  • Promote peer-to-peer support networks so employees can share personal experiences, safety tips, best practices, and new regulations.

DB Schenker, a global industry leader in logistics, leverages a top-rated platform to reinforce safety and continuously improve processes among their teams.

Culture of Safety

Effectively instilling the concept of occupational health and safety in workers is the only way for them to prioritize the practice in all aspects of their work. Here are some of the most effective ways to accomplish that:

  • Senior management should lead by example. Aside from providing the workers with all their needs to enforce safety practices and promote initiatives, they should hold themselves accountable for violations or negligence.
  • Be more proactive when it comes to safety. For instance, halt work when employees are in dangerous situations.
  • Hold enjoyable activities that highlight safety and actively engage employees, especially this coming World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

Tremco, one of the largest roofing companies in the United States, proves to be a success story, revolutionizing its corporate culture from the bottom up.

FAQs about World Day for Safety and Health at Work

The World Day of Safety and Health at Work takes place every April 28 yearly. It aims to prevent occupational diseases and accidents by raising awareness about pressing work-related health and safety risks across the globe.
This global safety campaign has tackled a wide range of themes throughout the years—from a positive safety culture to the fundamental right to a safe and healthy working environment.

Employers can participate by organizing safety awareness events, training sessions, and workshops. They can also conduct safety audits, review and update safety policies and procedures, and recognize and reward employees for their commitment to safety.

Active participation in company activities is a crucial step. Aside from commemorating this year’s Work Safety Day, workers should continue to join safety training, strictly follow company protocols, report hazards and near-misses, and suggest improvements to safety practices.

Companies committed to occupational health and safety always develop safety programs that benefit their employees and their bottom line.

  • Unilever zoomed in on its process safety management and has seen continuous improvements since its establishment.
  • Bayer is recognized for developing and delivering engaging safety training programs.
  • Schneider Electric empowers its workers by letting them take ownership of their actions and encouraging them to be more proactive when responding to incidents.
Eunice Arcilla Caburao
Article by
Eunice Arcilla Caburao
Eunice is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. A registered nurse, theater stage manager, Ultimate Frisbee athlete, and mother, Eunice has written a multitude of topics for over a decade now.