The International Labor Organization (ILO) designated April 28, 2013 as World Day for Safety and Health at Work to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. The World Health Organization Collaborating Center (WHO CC) on Environmental and Occupational Health in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at St. George’s University (SGU) contributed to the global awareness-raising campaign by focusing attention on emerging trends in the field of occupational safety and health and on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities worldwide using television and radio programs and outreaches to local schools.
With the theme of “Prevention of Occupational Diseases”, ILO announced that “The inadequate prevention of occupational diseases has profound negative effects not only on workers and their families but also on society at large due to the tremendous costs that it generates; particularly, in terms of loss of productivity and burdening of social security systems. Prevention is more effective and less costly than treatment and rehabilitation. All countries can take concrete steps now to improve their capacity for preventing occupational diseases.”
SGU- WHO CC will continue its work in prevention, workplace assessment, workforce development and sustainable occupational health and safety programs for the benefit of workers in Grenada. Thus far, the WHO CC has partnered with the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association (GCNA) production workers in the Gouyave Processing Plant, the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) in Occupational Safety and Health Training, the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) in Workplace Assessment and several hotels in Grenada in the areas of Food Safety and Preventing Occupational Injury.
Dr. Muge Akpinar Elci, Director of the WHO CC, commented that “Occupational Safety and Health is a relatively new area that is being looked at for the Caribbean region with laws and regulations becoming part of the requirements for workplaces to adopt”. The WHO CC technical expertise includes Occupational Health, Occupational Epidemiology, Exposure Assessment, Capacity Building, Environmental Engineering, Waste Management, Land and Resource Management and Sustainable Development.