2 min read

Mark the date: Sunday 28 April 2024 is World Day for Safety and Health at Work

On Sunday 28 April, the world will mark the 2024 World Day for Safety and Health at Work. On this day, it is timely to reflect on the importance of work health and safety (WHS) processes in your organisation, and the obligation of persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) and individuals to take reasonably practicable steps to ensure safety and wellbeing in their organisations.

Impacts of climate change on occupational safety and health

The theme for the 2024 World Day for Safety and Health at Work is ‘Impacts of climate change on occupational safety and health’. This theme is underpinned by the concept that changing weather patterns can, according to Safe Work Australia in its media release, create WHS risks, including “heat stress, UV radiation, air pollution, major industrial accidents, extreme weather events, an increase in vector-borne diseases and increased exposure to chemicals”.

Persistent and emerging WHS challenges

As outlined by Safe Work Australia, the theme of World Day for Safety and Health at Work aligns with the 10-year Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2023–2033, which was introduced in February 2023 to deliver WHS improvements, including for emerging risks such as climate change.

That strategy outlines a national vision for safety and sets a platform for delivering on key WHS performance indicators, such as a reduction in workplace fatalities. Some of the persistent challenges are identified as being the management of psychosocial risks, vulnerable workers and lack of resources for small businesses.

The emerging challenges include:

  • climate-related risks, including disease, heat, flooding and extreme weather events;
  • automated technologies and their impact on work;
  • online and gig economy work;
  • growth in age of the workforce;
  • hybrid work; and
  • more complex supply chains and shared responsibility for hazards.

Take part in World Day for Safety and Health at Work

The 2024 World Day for Safety and Health at Work offers an opportunity for all workplaces to take active steps to promote safety in the workplace, whether it is related to climate change impacts, other emerging challenges or more general safety issues.

Take the opportunity to arrange some activities to promote the approach your organisation will take to maintaining a healthy and safe work environment, such as:

  • sharing internal messages about work health and safety;
  • talking about WHS in your team meetings;
  • organising an afternoon/morning tea or toolbox talk to discuss work health and safety; and
  • arranging for a senior manager or guest speaker to speak at your workplace on safety issues.

Find out more about World Day for Safety and Health at Work and ways to get involved at the Safe Work Australia and United Nations’ websites.

Subscribe to the Health & Safety Bulletin

From the experts behind the Health & Safety Handbook, the Bulletin brings you the latest work health and safety news, legal updates, case law and practical advice straight to your inbox every week.

Sending confirmation email...
Great! Now check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription.
Please enter a valid email address!