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A report by the UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO) says that lessons learnt from the Covid pandemic can help strengthen workplace health and safety.

Titled "Enhancing social dialogue towards a culture of safety and health", the ILO report notes that during the pandemic, there was an effective dialogue between workers, their employers and the government about measures to prevent the spread of the Corona virus. The ILO suggests that, if the same level of dialogue was held about general workplace health and safety, it could help tackle the issue of three million worldwide deaths each year from occupational accidents.

The Director General of the ILO, Guy Ryder, stressed the importance of learning from the Covid crisis.

"The lessons learned from this crisis is about the importance of social dialogue in strengthening safety and health at the national and workplace level, need to be applied to other contexts."

The ILO report says that governments prioritised the active participation of employers and their workers in discussions about the best way to implement Covid prevention measures. These measures included wearing PPE (personal protective equipment), social distancing, hand washing, vaccine programmes and lockdown restrictions. Workplace ventilation and public transport health and safety were also improved following dialogues between interested parties.

Discussions between workers, employers, government, trade bodies and trade unions worked at national and regional levels during the pandemic to create a nationwide, unified approach to the impact of the pandemic. A similar approach could be used to find ways to improve the health and safety of non-Covid related issues.

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