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Work kills more than war, ILO leader says

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Frankfurt, Germany – The International Labour Organization has announced it will renew its efforts to improve workplace safety and health across the globe.

In a speech to almost 4,000 people at the XX World Congress on Safety and Health at Work, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said the organization would focus on creating “a culture of intolerance towards risks at work.” As part of that mission, ILO plans to strengthen its focus on vulnerable groups such as migrant workers.

Worldwide, Ryder said, work claims more victims every year than war. An estimated 2.3 million workers die every year from occupational incidents and diseases, and the estimated costs of workplace incidents and illnesses total $2.8 trillion, he added.

As part of a culture change, Ryder said, worker safety would improve with increased investments and improved data that could lead to evidence-based policies and programs.

“Ebola and the tragedies it is causing are in the daily headlines – which is right,” Ryder said. “But work-related deaths are not. So, the task ahead is to establish a permanent culture of consciousness.”