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Trade Union Congress of the Philippines 'Press conference and inter-agency consultation on the development of a national program for the elimination of asbestos-related diseases (NPEAD).' The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) in partnership with the Associated Labor Unions (ALU-TUCP), and Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) will hold a joint consultation with government agencies to develop a national program for the elimination of asbestos-related diseases based on the ILO/WHO outline. A minute of prayerful silence for dead and injured workers will start the Commemoration.

Discussions on the initiatives to eliminate asbestos-related diseases, benefits of banning asbestos and the features and progress of a proposed law by the legislator sponsor will follow. A press conference will end this part of the activity. Media will be engaged to inform the public, legislators and government agencies about the hazards of asbestos and the need to take actions.

Participants will learn the extent of asbestos use and the prevalence of asbestos-related diseases in Philippine industry. A panel discussion will determine alternatives and workplace standards to safeguard Philippine workers against asbestos hazards.

These will lead to the ILO/WHO outline for the development of a national program for the elimination of asbestos-related diseases. WHO will discuss the outline and the participation of stakeholders in the process. Unions and government agencies will agree on development timelines and consultations framework at the end of the session.

Participants and organizers will light candles to end the Commemoration, signifying that this would burn the obstacles towards asbestos ban in the country and improved occupational health and safety for all workers.

Contact Rafael E. Mapalo
Acting Director for Education
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP)

TUCP 28 April webpage

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On worker deaths, Patrice Woeppel To mark International Workers' Memorial Day Patrice has asked Hazards to reproduce her article On worker deaths. She reports the devastating, continuing, and almost hidden, national tragedy in the US. 

On Worker Deaths
By Patrice Woeppel, Ed.D.
Author: Depraved Indifference: the Workers’ Compensation System
March 16, 2009
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) records 5,488 worker fatalities for 2007, the most recent year for which their data is completed. But the number of worker fatalities recorded by BLS is grossly under-reported.

Worker deaths from toxic exposures, other work illnesses are conservatively estimated by NIOSH and other researchers at 50,00 to 60,000 deaths each year, or ten times the number of fatalities from work injuries. 1, 2, 3. It is a disaster of monumental proportions that goes largely unrecorded. The United States has no comprehensive occupational health data collection system.

As we have lagged behind other nations in our lack of a national comprehensive medical and statistical database on occupational illnesses, occupational injuries; we have lagged behind in the research into the causes and consequences of occupational illnesses that would lead to improved diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and ultimately prevention, of occupational toxic exposures and resultant diseases.

While the United States has set permissible exposure limits on less than 500 of the hundreds of thousands of chemicals in use in workplaces throughout our country, the EU regulates 30,000 chemicals utilized in their workplaces, and many that we allow here have been banned for years in the EU.4 Even the small number of chemicals, upon which exposure limits have been set in the US, are grossly out of date based on more recent scientific data.

It is a major and costly health issue – costly in lives, and costly in dollars. The economic burden for occupational illness, injury and death in our country is an estimated $170 billion annually.  It is an economic burden that falls mainly on families (44%) and on taxpayers (18%); with only 27%, on average, being paid by workers’ compensation. 5.

There has been very little general public awareness of this system that maims and kills with impunity. The time is long overdue to re-evaluate a structure that evolved over one hundred years ago; and which clearly doesn't meet the needs of seriously injured, ill, or toxic chemical-exposed workers, or the families of workers who died from their work – a system that has fostered devastating and lasting damage to families, to communities, to our environment.

Increasingly as a nation, we have been all too willing to push corporate costs onto workers and taxpayers; and all too willing to cut protections for workers, communities, and the environment.
Occupational illness deaths are now the eighth leading cause of death in the US, more than many of the diseases that receive far more government, public, and media attention. 6 We need to right this terrible, continuing American tragedy.


1 Leigh, J. Paul; Markowitz, Steven; Fahs, Marianne; Landrigan, Philip. Costs of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. University of Michigan Press, 2000.

2 U.S. House of Representatives. Hidden Tragedy: Underreporting of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses. A Majority Staff Report by the Committee on Education and Labor. Honorable George Miller, Chairman, June 2008.

3 Steenland, Kyle; Burnett, Carol; Lalich, Nina; et al.Dying for Work: The Magnitude of US Mortality From Selected Causes of Death Associated With Occupation, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Vol 43, pp 461-482, 2003.

4 Regulation EC 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH),

5 op. cit. Leigh, et al, 2000.

6 LaDou, J., M.D. Occupational and Environmental Medicine in the United State: A Proposal to Abolish Workers’ Compensation and Reestablish the Public Health Model, International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in the United States. 2006; 12 (2) 154-168; and US Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Vital Statistics System, National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol 53, Number 5. Deaths: Final Data for 2002, Table 10 and Worktable I, pp. 1585, 1634, 1662, 1703, 2220-2224, at

Additional information on the situation is on her website and in her book: Depraved Indifference: the Workers' Compensation System.

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ILO Organising SafeDay Events for 28 April

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has announced World Day for Safety and Health at Work (SafeDay) for 2009 as a focal point for an international campaign to promote safe, healthy, and decent work in every part of the world.

As part of its promotional efforts, it has once again launched a special Website as a reference site for organising and publicizing 28 April activities internationally under the selected themes, "My life, my work, my safe work - Managing risk in the work environment” and "Health and life at work: A basic human right.”

A beautifully designed poster marking 28 April, along with a booklet, bookmark and postcard, are available for free from the International Labour Organisation’s website. The booklet, titled Health and life at work: A basic human right, addresses the possible impacts of the current world financial crisis on occupational safety and health. The key message is that even in times of change, safety, health and life at work are basic human rights.

The theme of the booklet is captured in the graphic design of the poster, which is echoed in the design of the bookmark and the postcard. All four products can be downloaded from the ILO website

SafeDay was first inaugurated in 2003 and has now become an annual event in which dozens of tripartite ceremonies, training sessions and events around the world are initiated by ILO centres and staff. As well, the ILO makes a number of products available to support its organizing efforts through this Web page, including a high resolution poster suitable for reprinting Health and life at work: A basic human right - Poster - (pdf 809 KB).

The website is maintained by the International Labour Office’s SafeWork, Programme on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment, SafeWork in Geneva, Switzerland. It invites its government, employer and trade union constituencies to join in and promote this important day. Contact

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Canadian unions call for enforcement of health and safety laws

OTTAWA: Trade unionists and supporters in Canada will once again be holding hundreds of ceremonies and activities across the country, including a national ceremony in Ottawa, to commemorate 28 April in the country where it was first recognised by any government.
Ken Georgetti, President of the 3 million-member Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) has issued a call to all Heads of Unions with headquarters in the Capital City to join in the ceremonies planned in Vincent Massey Park.
In his letter, Georgetti notes that, after a quarter century of improved legislation, regulations and collective bargaining provisions, a record number of Canadian workers are still dying from workplace causes. For this reason, the theme chosen for the CLC’s 2009 National Day of Mourning is ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! IT’S TIME TO BRING EMPLOYERS WHO KILL TO JUSTICE.’
The letter calls on unions across the country to pressure their governments for a special prosecutor to enforce the law. It also asks affiliates to support local and provincial events, which the CLC will be supporting with media advertising and a special Day of Mourning website available at

The gathering in Ottawa is scheduled to begin at 12:00 Noon, with ceremonies beginning at 12:30 PM
Contact Andrea Peart

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April 20, 2009


TO Unions, State Federations, Central Labor Councils and Others Participating in Workers Memorial Day Activities
FROM Peg Seminario, Director, Safety and Health
SUBJECT Materials to Assist with Workers Memorial Day Activities

Workers Memorial Day, April 28, is just around the corner. Events will be held in communities and workplaces across the country. In addition, trade unionists around the globe are also observing Workers Memorial Day.

The theme of this years Workers Memorial Day is Good Jobs, Safe Jobs. Give Workers a Voice for a Change.  After eight years of neglect and inaction by the Bush Administration, the challenges are great.  The economy is in shambles, major hazards remain unaddressed, and many workers lack basic protections and rights.  But now we have the opportunity to change the direction of the country, to strengthen job safety protections and to make sure that  workers voices are heard.
As we remember those who have suffered and died on the job, well renew the fight for safe workplaces, and fight to make workers issues a priority.

 To assist you with your planned events or activities we have prepared a number of materials that are now available on the AFL-CIO Workers Memorial Day website.  They include:

General Field Talking Points that can be used for speeches. [pdf]

A sample letter-to-the-editor that can be sent to your local newspaper. [pdf]

A draft media advisory that you can use to bring your event to the attention of local media. [pdf]

A chart outlining state specific information about job safety. [pdf]

We are sending this to you in advance of releasing our annual report entitled Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect. [pdf]

Facts About Worker Safety and Health, 2009. [pdf]

Please note, the fatality information in the state chart and Facts document is preliminary.  Final 2007 fatality data will not be released by  BLS until next week.  We will update and post revised versions of these documents on the AFL-CIO website as soon as the final data is available.

Also posted on the website are brochures for the Workers Memorial that is being built at the National Labor College where unions will honor our brothers and sisters who have died on the job. [pdf1] • [pdf2]

We have also posted a copy of the Workers Memorial Day event reporting form and would ask that you take a few moments to fill it out and return it by fax (202-508-6978) or mail to the indicated address. [pdf]

Additionally, please send us any press coverage your event receives.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at 202-637-5367 if you have questions or need further information.

Peg Seminario
Safety and Health Director
Tel:  202-637-5366
Fax:  202-508-6978

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Building and Wood Workers' International Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI) has started preparations for 28 April 2009 with a website that reminds readers “Your job should provide you with a living - not cause your death.” The slogan for this year’s commemoration is: Organise! Cancer no thanks!

BWi says the purpose of International Workers Memorial Dayis to highlight the preventable nature of workplace accidents and ill health, and to promote campaigns and union organisation to improve health and safety at work. It is also a day to remember all those who have died because of their job.

Fiona Murie, Director of Health, Safety and Environment, has consistently highlighted the fact that workers in BWI trades engage in some of the most dangerous jobs, often exposed to hazardous dust and chemicals, such as asbestos fibres contained in building materials, as well as working at heights, in confined spaces, lifting heavy loads and operating dangerous machinery.

As a consequence, BWI members are among the hardest hit by fatal ‘accidents’ and occupational diseases. Each year about one hundred thousand are killed, and thousands more are injured or made ill because of bad and illegal working conditions.

2009 activities will continue the call for a ban on asbestos. Nearly 300 people die each day from asbestos lung disease, most of whom worked in the building trades. Numerous other common workplace substances can also cause cancer; e.g., wood dust; cement dust; solvents used in glues, fillers, paints, laquers and varnishes, isocyanates, formaldehyde, pesticides used in forestry plantations and for treating timber, and welding fumes.

Both the risks and the preventive measures are well-known. The greatest risks to health and safety, however, are negligent employers who do not comply with the most basic legislation to protect people at work. Deregulation, subcontracting chains, bogus self employment and informal contractual conditions make this situation even worse, which explains the worrying increase in accident rates around the world.

The solution, says the BWI, is to work for change by joining the BWI and other trade union campaigns for good, safe jobs by:

* Writing to government to demand worker participation, enforcement of legislation, improvement of contractual conditions for stable employment, and a ban on asbestos;

* Supporting local events for 28 April by publicizing and attending local events;

* Initiating 28 April activities at the workplace; e.g., stop work for a formal two minutes of silence, organise safety & health meetings, conduct a workplace inspection.

* Initiate and support national initiatives by contacting national trade union centres; writing letters to employers organisations and oh&s administrations

Contact Fiona Murie

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Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions

A report from Amarsanaa Enebish
CMTU International Cooperation Department

There were altogether 491 industrial accidents registered in 2008 in nation-wide and it increased by 148 in comparing with last years industrial accidents which were 343.

In 2008

Number of accidents  491
Death toll 162
Disabling injuries 135
Temporary disability 357

The most of the industrial accidents occurred in construction sector (death toll 63) followed by mining sector (death toll 42) in 2008.

In conjunction with International campaign on 14th International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers with theme of “Good oh for all workers”, Confederation of Mongolian Trade Union
(CMTU) is going to organize a One Month Campaign for Workers’ Memorial Day 28 April, 2009 in between 10 April to 10 May, 2009.

Within the framework of the campaign, following activities will be done:

  1. To organize a meeting with Construction sector company managers on Occupational safety at construction sector and establish MOU with State Specialized Inspection Agency on safe construction,
  2. To conduct Trade Union Forum under the title on “Let’s prevent industrial accidents” in collaboration with industrial trade union federations as well as with Ulaanbaatar City Trade Union Federation.
  3. CMTU “legal advice giving center” will open for one week to public just for giving free advices on occupational safety and hygiene law and safety guides and rules.
  4. To organize a consultative meeting with social partners on “Effective ways to prevent from industrial accidents”
  5. To produce TV program on workers’ Memorial Day 28 April and broadcast through major TV.
  6. To organize a Press conference on observation of international commemoration Day - 28 April in collaboration with social partners.
  7. To organize an “Open debate” with Ministry of Social Welfare and Labour 

Further details: Amarsanaa Enebish

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Tripartite conference organised in Sénégal for 28 April
A national conference is being organized on 28 April in Dakar, Sénégal, by l'Intersyndicale Santé et Sécurité au Travail to discuss how to improve workplace health and safety in the country.

Invited delegates include government ministers for the departments of health, industry, environment and others; union leaders; representatives of employer’s associations; and health officials. During the panel discussions, delegates will hear from doctors who specialize in workplace safety, employers, government officials and trade unions.

Senegal is among the group of countries with the highest workplace accident fatality rates in the world.


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Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine (FPU)

To mark International Workers' Memorial Day, the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine (Федерація профспілок України or FPU) is calling on national, regional, local and primary trade unions to take active part in the organisation and implementation of events during Labour Safety Week, 22-28 April, 2009, under the theme “Life and health at work is a basic human right”.

At their events, trade unions are being asked to encourage local authorities and employers to focus on dealing with labour safety issues, urge primary trade union organisations to engage in activities aimed ensuring the right to safe working conditions, to pay more attention to labour safety at each workplace and to work at eliminating risk factors and gaps in the prevention of industrial accidents.

Last year, for 28 April the federation helped organize a forum on safety and health of workers in the coal-mining industry.

This year, the federation says it wishes to highlight the number of workers labouring in conditions that do not meet sanitary and hygienic norms. The incidence of occupational diseases and therefore, the number of disabled workers, is increasing due to the deterioration of labour conditions and an insufficient supply of workers’ personal protective equipment. The level of labour safety remains catastrophically low. At most companies, certification of workplaces is carried out improperly or is not carried out at all. Significant part of machines, mechanisms, equipment and vehicles do not meet safety standards, and their operation threatens the lives not only of workers but also the population at large.

Preventive labour safety measures are inadequately financed. Most employers do not comply with article 19 of Ukraine’s Labour Safety Law, which obliges employers to allocate at least 0.5 percent of their sales turnover or 0.2 percent of salaries to labour safety measures. Employers try to hide industrial accidents from registration and investigation in order to deprive the victims of financial assistance.

The Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine is calling on employers to demonstrate that they honour the Constitution of Ukraine, and that they accept their responsibility to maintain decent working conditions for their employees.

Presidium of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine

Further details Petra Winkler

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Superintendencia de Riesgos del Trabajo (SRT)

The Argentinean authority for risks at work - Superintendencia de Riesgos del Trabajo (SRT) - has organised trend-setting commemoration events, this time simultaneously in four different cities from 27-28 April to promote dialogue for preventing risks under the banner of 'Health and aafety at work in times of crisis'.

The conferences will take place in Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mendoza and Rosario and these contain a full array of issues meant to attract participants from all walks of life and industrial sectors, and with representation from all national trade union bodies, employers, government authorities and organisations involved in OHS issues.

Before a closing 28 April commemoration ceremony in each conference, the participants will be drawn into a host of panels that will focus on the construction and other industries but all will focus on prevention, capacity building, as well as inspections and investigations.

Registration is free to anyone who pre-registers. The invitation announcement emphasizes the SRT’s “conviction of the need to strengthen the links between the world of work, public policy, and scientific knowledge, through analisis and reflection of new trends and challenges for promoting a culture of prvention”. Argentina is among the 19 countries that has formally adopted 28 April for national observance and is among a small number of countries to have developed its own Decent Work programme with the ILO. Further information

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