Home Latest News 28 April 2024 – World Day for Safety and Health at Work

28 April 2024 – World Day for Safety and Health at Work

by efn efn

Every year, on the 28 of April, the International Labour Organization celebrates the World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

The 2024 World Day for Safety and Health at Work will focus primarily on raising awareness on the impacts of climate change on occupational safety and health. Climate change increases workers’ exposure to health hazards linked with serious health conditions, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory illnesses, and mental health disorders. New epidemics like the COVID-19 pandemic, and also Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) will also grow in intensity due to climate change, with the linked health consequences for citizens, but also for the frontline workers that need to care for them.

Nurses are bearing the brunt of this crisis. As frontline health workers they are impacted directly by the effects of climate change on the safety and health on the workplace, as shown by the COVID-19 pandemic: increased workloads, burnout, exhaustion, and lack of recognition and compensation contributed to nearly 30% of the nursing workforce wanting to leave the profession, as Dr Paul De Raeve, the EFN’s Secretary General, pointed out in his latest article. On the other hand, as frontline health workers, they also provide high-quality care to patients and workers affected by health conditions which are the result of Climate Change.

Through “Nursing Planetary Health” they also play a key role in addressing the causes of climate change by, for example, encouraging sustainable lifestyles, and reducing the environmental footprint of hospitals. However, to do so effectively, they need to be adequately trained and educated. To this end, the EFN has created a MOOC entitled “Green skills for nurses and allied HCPin the context of the BeWell project, but this is not enough. Adequate policy responses are necessary, with focus on providing nurses with high-levels of education, but also safe staffing levels and safe working conditions.

For the 2024 World for Safety and Health at Work the EFN is thus calling on the relevant authorities to respond to the needs of the nursing workforce: do not throw away with the bathwater the Directive 2005/36/EU, revised by Directive 2013/55/EU, which means to not downgrade the nurses’ education, and instead invest education, training and Continuous Professional Development (CPD)/Life-Long Learning (LLL). Moreover, the EU must tackle the health workforce crisis, which requires adequate salaries, safe staffing levels to sustain high-quality patient care standards across the EU, strategic planning, education, and training without compromising educational standards, as outlined in Directive 2013/55/EU, and safe-working conditions, to improve the attractiveness of the nursing profession. Finally, nurses must be involved through co-creation in the design of the policies that will directly impact their daily work!