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First global OSH campaign focuses on zero harm

A global safety and health campaign has been launched today (4 September) by the International Social Security Association (ISSA). The Vision Zero initiative aims to reduce occupational accidents and disease with the aim of reaching zero harm. ISSA believes the campaign is not only the first global OSH improvement campaign but also the first international initiative to prioritise worker wellbeing as well as safety and health.

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The initiative is supported by the World Health Organization, the US safety regulator OSHA and the International Association of Labour Inspection.

ISSA, which represents social security institutions, government departments and agencies in more than 160 countries, is encouraging organisations to pledge to follow seven “golden rules”, including controlling risks, defining targets and developing programmes to meet them, improving worker competence and ensuring work equipment is safe.

"These rules have been developed by more than 1000 occupational safety and health experts," said ISSA security general Hans-Horst Konkolewsly, launching Vision Zero at the World Safety Congress in Singapore. "Labour inspectorates, governments and companies have tried and tested these concepts."

The first campaign signatories include Hitachi, Rolls Royce and Siemens and ISSA hopes they will be joined by thousands more organisations.

Speaking at the launch, Lars Hoffmann, head of safety at Siemens commended the campaign materials were "pragmatic and easy to use" and said the company intended to use them for its own workers and with its suppliers.

Organisations can sign up to the campaign at the Vision Zero website http://visionzero.global, which includes checklists to implement each of the seven golden rules. The rules are intended to be applicable to any sized business or third-sector or public organisation and the campaign allows the signatories flexibility to concentrate on improving health, safety or wellbeing, whichever is most important to their organisation.

Konkolewsky emphasised that the pledge was not a commitment to achieve zero harm in short order but was rather "a long-term commitment, a mindset."

Shelley Frost, IOSH's executive director, policy, chairs ISSA's education and training section. She told congress that accredited trainers could enter their details on the website to receive free materials to carry out VisionZero training sessions. The training programme was "focused on personal action plans," said Frost. "It allows you to translate the seven golden rules into something that is right for you."

 

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Louis Wustemann is former editor, IOSH Magazine. He was previously editor of Health and Safety at Work magazine and Environment in Business. He has written, edited and consulted on health and safety, environmental and employment matters for more than 25 years.

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