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80% of the world's workforce is estimated to lack access to OSH services. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

A new project is set to look at why 80% of the world’s workforce lacks access to basic occupational safety and health (OSH) services, and how to remedy this

The two-year project has been part funded by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and will be conducted by experts from the UK's Lancaster University and the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH), led by Professor Stavroula Leka, who specialises in organisations, work and health at Lancaster University.

Among the issues the researchers will explore are:

  • the influence of country economic status, national policy, laws and regulations, organisation size, models of work and occupational sectors
  • the facilitators and barriers that influence how OSH is delivered and to establish how this knowledge could be used to improve and promote OSH.

Breaking down barriers

"Every worker around the world has the right to a safe and healthy workplace, but we know this is far from the case for so many people and that they face risks to their safety and health every day. This is unacceptable, and we hope this research will shine more light on what is preventing good OSH provision in all parts of the world and how any barriers can be overcome," said Nicole Rinaldi, director of Professional Services, IOSH.

Professor Leka said, “High occupational safety and health standards are of paramount importance for the future of work, and for the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, it is estimated that 80% of the global working population still do not have access to basic OSH services and where these services are implemented, they vary in scope, content and quality, with a multi-disciplinary, comprehensive approach addressing both physical and mental health and wellbeing, seldom being undertaken.

“We are excited to be embarking on this research, in collaboration with ICOH, to generate new knowledge on the global state of the art on OSH service delivery and provide consensus on priorities for the future of effective OSH service delivery with a global focus.”

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