UITBB Statement – April 28 2021: World Day for Safety and Health at Work

UITBB Statement – April 28 2021: World Day for Safety and Health at Work

On this year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work, UITBB would like to draw attention to the sad fact of nearly 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million victims of work-related illnesses around the world each year. Especially with the pandemic weighing down on the shoulders of the workers even more, this serious issue is what should be on everyone’s minds this year.

What is more, with the upcoming World Cup in Qatar in 2022, UITBB notes that at the building sites for the Soccer Cup tens of thousands of immigrant workers are victims of savage practices of violations of basic human rights. The conditions of migrant workers at construction sites are inhumane, as they work 12 hours a day, without safety and health measures, under unbelievably high temperatures in the Qatari desert, dying from the lack of health and safety measures.

It is for this reason, and given that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has established April 28 as World Day for Safety and Health at Work in commemoration of workers who suffered accidents, illnesses or died and to publicize the risks of injuries and occupational diseases, and to promote their prevention, that our international trade union, the Trades Union International of Workers of the Building, Wood and Building Materials Industries, representing dozens of trade unions and tens of millions of workers in the construction industry around the world, has taken the initiative, under the slogan: Don’t Build Stadiums on Workers’ Blood, to raise the issue in all international and local forums and institutions, with the ultimate goal of taking, at last, the appropriate measures so that this phenomenon can be mitigated as much as possible.

UITBB would also like to underline that the intensification of work, the reduction of wages, the attacks against collective agreements, the extension of flexible forms of employment, the increase in retirement limits and the threat of unemployment, are some of the factors that leave workers exposed in their worksites, endangering their lives. All of these factors, which are more obvious in the workplace and especially in the construction sector, are linked to the anti-labour policy pursued by governments to provide more favorable conditions for the profitability of capital.

What is more, with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, it is imperative that everyone focuses on addressing this outbreak, in the context of health and safety at work. UITBB stresses the importance not only of taking extra health and safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in worksites, but also the importance of supporting in any way possible the workers and their families when worksites and jobs shut down. UITBB underlines that good safety and health measures should be maintained and observed, even when the global lockdown due to COVID-19 finishes, while we also need to raise awareness on adopting safe and health practices at worksites and pay attention to public health systems.

On Behalf of the UITBB Secretariat,


Michalis Papanikolaou

UITBB General Secretary