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ILO Conference

International Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO)

Make it visible: Occupational Diseases - Recognition, compensation, and prevention

Occupational diseases have a considerable human and economic global burden. The 2 million people estimated to die from work-related diseases every year and the further 160 million estimated non-fatal cases cause not only immense human suffering, but also major economic losses estimated around 4 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product in terms of direct and indirect costs.

Decent work can only be achieved by tackling this problem . Improvement of working conditions has led to a reduction of occupational diseases in some countries and sectors. But there are many challenges ahead as occupational diseases continue to increase in many countries. There is an urgent need to improve systems for prevention, identification, recording and compensation of occupational diseases.

Globally, more than half of countries do not provide statistics for occupational diseases associated with little capacity for workers’ health surveillance. Diagnosis of occupational diseases requires specific medical knowledge and experience; reporting from employers needs awareness and understanding of the links between monitored hazards and diseases as well as compliance with legal requirements backed by an effective labour inspection; reliable data collection from compensation schemes requires systems to consider the long latency period of some diseases and include workers from small enterprises. All these are lacking in most developing countries, but maintaining and expanding work on prevention of occupational and other emerging work-related disorders during recession is also a challenge for developed countries. Traditional occupational diseases such as pneumoconiosis are still widespread and growing and others such as mental and musculoskeletal disorders are becoming a major cause of concern in some developed countries.

This challenging and dynamic problem calls for a multidisciplinary effort to tackle the “invisibility” of occupational diseases with active participation of workers, employers, governments and OSH professionals. The conference will share international and national good practices as part of an effort to enhance the effectiveness of action to prevent, identify, record and compensate occupational diseases. It aims to call on governments and social security officials, employers, workers, labour inspectors, OSH professionals and their organizations to collaborate in the development and implementation of national policies and strategies aimed at preventing occupational and work-related diseases.

The 2013 ILO International Safety and Health Conference will take place in Dusseldorf, Germany on 6th and 7th of November 2013, during A+A Safety, Security and Health at Work International Trade Fair with Congress, in collaboration with the German Federal Association for OSH (Basi), Mese Dusseldorf, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of Germany, the International Social Security Association (ISSA), the International Association of Labour Inspection (IALI) and the World health Organization (WHO).

Programme as pdf (779.4 KB)