Occupational health

Universal health coverage of workers

Currently only 15% of workers worldwide have access to specialized occupational health services carrying out prevention of occupational risks, health surveillance, training in safe working methods, first aid and advising employers in occupational health and safety.

Resolution WHA 60.26 “Workers’ Health: Global Plan of Action” urged Member States “to work towards full coverage of all workers, including those in the informal economy, small- and medium-sized enterprises, agriculture, and migrant and contractual workers, with essential interventions and basic occupational health services for primary prevention of occupational and work-related diseases and injuries.” WHO secretariat was requested to develop time line and indicators for the establishment of occupational health services for all at the global level.

WHO’s work on extending access to the most essential health interventions and services for workers’ health includes:

  • Enabling primary care centers to deliver preventive, curative and rehabilitatiion people-centred care according to the specific health needs of working people, particularly those who do not have access to occupational health services.
  • Strenghtening the specialized occupational health services – multidisciplinary and basic and improving their link to primary care centres and the rest of the health systems.
  • Stimulating international efforts to build human resource capacities for workers’ health, both in prinmary care and occupational health specialists.
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