The UK's Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has revealed how the OSH profession can support the delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
On the United Nations Global Compact Flag Day, held on 25 September, IOSH launched a new report, Delivering a sustainable future, highlighting how IOSH believes good OSH management can contribute to 51 of the 169 targets that sit beneath the 17 SDGs. Of these 51, it can make a direct contribution to 31.
In the report, IOSH maps these targets to elements of good OSH management, which it hopes will support businesses in identifying how their activities can support the goals, through delivering good OSH, protecting workers and promoting health and wellbeing.
Elements of good OSH:
• Risk management
• OSH management systems
• Performance management and governance
• Occupational health
• Chemical hazards
• Vulnerable workers
• Ethical business practice
• OSH legislation
• Business continuity
Through its Catch the Wave campaign, launched in November 2021, IOSH has showcased how businesses which look after their people are much more sustainable.
Christopher Davis, Thought Leadership manager at IOSH, said, “We’ve known that good OSH management plays a key role in the delivery of the SDGs. Now, for the first time, our new report articulates the nature of those links, giving the detail about exactly what parts of OSH we are referring to.
“One thing that our report reveals is that our members, OSH professionals, and the businesses they work for and with are probably already doing many of these activities. What we are showing them is that supporting the delivery of the SDGs is well within their reach.
“We encourage our members to use our report, to reflect on the content and how it chimes with what they are already doing, and to focus on other areas they can work on. By doing this, they can really start to highlight the value they – and the OSH profession – can bring to business and society.”
The SDG Flag Campaign is organised by the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) to raise awareness of the SDGs and enable organisations to show how they are contributing to them. Today marks eight years since the world adopted the SDGs.
Time for action
Ruth Wilkinson, head of Policy at IOSH, remarked, “The UNGC says that the need for action on the SDGs is now greater than ever, and it really is. And OSH professionals have a major part to play, as do their businesses.
“IOSH believes that social sustainability is the backbone of resilience, and that OSH is fundamental to building and maintaining work, workforces, supply chains and communities that are all sustainable for the future.
“We realise there is a lot of information out there relating to the SDGs, but our report highlights exactly how OSH activities align to the SDGs and is designed to be easily digestible, and support action and reporting. From risk management, to providing good welfare facilities and ensuring occupational health is high on the agenda to looking after vulnerable workers and managing chemical hazards, OSH is inextricably linked to the SDGs.
“OSH professionals are well placed to work across the business to support socially sustainable practices and help organisations to create reporting and learning cultures. Now is the time for OSH professionals and businesses to review what they are doing, highlight any gaps and to act on them.”