According to the global estimates published by the International Labour Organization (ILO), 2.78 million workers lose their lives each year in work-related accidents and diseases, of which 2.4 million due to work-related diseases alone, a number that far exceeds the number of fatal occupational accidents. These estimates also show that more than 160 million workers become ill each year due to risks at work. In addition to this human and social tragedy, it is estimated that economic losses due to poor working conditions and occupational accidents and diseases contribute to the loss of more than 4% of the Gross Domestic Product worldwide. The enormous human suffering and the social and economic costs of occupational diseases should justify more decisive actions to ensure the health of workers. However, in many countries, the lack of consideration of the occupational origin of many of these diseases or the lack of adequate registration and notification systems for occupational diseases makes it even more difficult to show the true dimension of the problem. Although the International Labour Standards of the ILO and the national legislation of most countries establish responsibilities regarding this problem, frequently the lack of knowledge, information resources and technical means result in very poor performance both at the company level as well as at the national level in a large part of the countries. However, the successful experience of some countries and many companies shows that it is possible to take actions that limit the magnitude of the problem. Preventing the occurrence of occupational diseases requires knowing and anticipating the health hazards to the workers that may arise from the work processes, operations and equipment in a company, in order to eliminate these hazards or plan other appropriate interventions to control risks to the health. This means taking proactive actions to identify the presence of chemical, physical and biological agents, as well as ergonomic and psychosocial hazards that may affect the health and well-being of workers. It also means evaluating the exposure of workers to these agents and hazards, as well as the effects, they may have on health to determine how to control these health risks. The ILO International Training Centre, in collaboration with the ILO programme that promotes Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), organizes this course in Turin to familiarize participants with the main hazards that generate work-related diseases, risk assessment methods and specific control measures, as well as guidelines, tools and methods from both the ILO and selected countries and organizations on how to prevent work-related diseases at the enterprise level.
The course is aimed at: - OSH inspectors in charge to supervise and advice enterprises on OSH; - Representatives of workers' organizations and employers' organizations involved in OSH issues; - Health professionals at work from companies or public or private organizations that advise companies on OSH; - Political decision-makers, technical officials, and advisors of the government institutions in charge of planning and governing OSH at the national level. The programme may also be of interest to other people, such as researchers, or trainers in the field of public health and workers' health.