This is Richard Nelson – Richie to his work colleagues. It’s a grimy Thursday morning in Slough, and Richie’s about to carry out a risk assessment in the garden centre where he works. He shrugs on his coat and lifts a clipboard. Peering up at the drizzle, Richie doesn’t feel particularly crucial to the welfare of the planet.
But listen up. He is about to change the course of the future.
Every year, the International Labour Organization (ILO) makes us sit up and take notice of the grim reality of global working conditions. This year, their World Day for Safety and Health at Work takes place on 28 April. And the ILO are driving home the pressing need for reliable occupational safety and health (OSH) data.
OSH data is crucial to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Agenda is essentially a global plan of action with specific targets to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. As part of this, it’s critical that countries collect and use reliable OSH data – so that they can implement and report on the Agenda’s 17 sustainable development goals and their targets.
The ILO reminds us that OSH data collected from all of our workplaces across the globe drives change. Our collected data can help detect new hazards and emerging risks in the way we all work. Our data can play its part in identifying hazardous sectors, and help develop preventive measures. Not only that, but our OSH data helps in the implementation of policies, systems and programmes at international, national and enterprise levels. By carrying out a risk assessment in a rainy Middlefield Garden Centre in Slough, Richie is improving the working conditions of some of the most vulnerable people in the world, in countries and environments he has barely dreamed of.
But it’s not all just “greater good”. There are immediate benefits closer to home too. By making a commitment to good OSH practices, we’re also playing our part in the HSE’s Help Great Britain Work Well strategy. Making our workplace, and our entire country, a safe and healthy place to work. Sweet.
So, to all the Richies out there, completing risk assessments, accidents registers – and the rest. Feel good today, for saving the planet. And get yourself a coffee. You’ve earned it.