Sustainable health goals
Workers’ health should be linked to sustainable goals.
The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) has published guidelines on how organisations can link the protection of workers' health directly to sustainable development targets.
The United Nations Sustainable Developmental Goals are seventeen global benchmarks that responsible organisations try to achieve. BOHS wants to add the right to a healthy working environment to this list as they are linked.
The BOHS CEO, Professor Kevin Bampton said:
“Sustainability is about the environment, nature, and the planet – but it is also about people.”
Workplaces with poor environments cause many illnesses including cancers, COPD, and asthma. Health & Safety Executive data shows that, out of 32 million working UK people, 1.2 million suffer from occupational diseases. Many of these illnesses could be prevented by removing pollutants in the workplace that harm the atmosphere as well as workers. Dust suppression and using vacuum cleaners instead of brushes to remove construction dust are just two of the simple measures that make a significant difference. Inexpensive PPE faces masks prevent workers from breathing in harmful dust.
In evidence given to a parliamentary select committee, the BOHS said that, apart from human pain and loss, work-related diseases have a large economic cost. They are calling for the idea of “occupational hazard” to be abolished. They believe that acceptance of harm to health in the workplace should no longer be tolerated in modern society.
Business sustainability includes the health of workers who are a key asset, who, like the environment have a right to be protected.
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