International Commission on Occupational Health

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Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
- Primary health care towards universal health coverage

The global workforce, numbering to 3.4 billion people, produces the GDP of the world that amounts to 88 trillion USD. Health and work ability of the working people is a critical prerequisite for the sustainability of individuals, families, communities and nations. The ILO and ICOH estimate that exposures to the traditional and new hazards at work cause occupational accidents and work-related diseases (WRDs), resulting in 2.8 million fatalities a year, leading to major loss of work ability and to 4% loss of the global GDP.
About 85% of the global workforce lacks access to occupational health services. Extension of the coverage and development of the content of occupational health services is needed. The ICOH, IOHA and IEA welcome the initiative for Universal Health Coverage and proposes it to be complemented by Universal Occupational Health Coverage (UOHC), providing specialized or basic occupational health services for all 3.4 billion working people, including occupational hygiene and human factors/ergonomic design services. Such services should be provided for all sectors, workplaces and workers in line with the SDGs No. 1,3, and 8. Special attention should be given to protection of occupational health of vulnerable groups; workers of high-risk sectors, older, female, migrant, refugee and child workers and workers in the informal sector, who often are worst hit by the climate change.
The ICOH, IOHA and IEA encourage the WHO to:
1) Establish a global programme for universal occupational health coverage, UOHC, by guiding the governments to organize specialized or basic occupational health services for all working people,
2) Provide technical support and guidance for training and education of necessary multidisciplinary human resources and experts for UOHC
3) Collaborate with the sister UN organizations and NGOs for development of UOHC and to revitalize the Joint ILO/WHO Committee on Occupational Health.