"A world of false promises" Challenges facing global occupational health
27 Nov 2018 - 12:00
Jo Ladou, Leslie London and Andrew Watterson recently published a timely commentary on the challenges facing global occupational health, provocatively titled “A world of false promises.” The three authors, all fellows of the Collegium Ramazzini, provide an insightful analysis of the mismatch between expectations of the World Health Organisation and the International Labour Office and the capacity of UN agencies to operate effectively and without interference from vested interests in protecting workers’ health. The need for global stewardship in occupational health could not be higher, given current growing global threats to worker protections resulting in a growing crisis in occupational health. Yet, as the authors show, UN agencies are starved of budgets which render them unable to deal adequately with the monumental tasks demanded, resulting in dependence on private donations which limits the scope of what they can do address occupational health and safety. The authors conclude that strengthening national and global civil society voice in WHO and ILO structures is essential and should be accompanied by measures to keep conflict of interest out of policy decisions, so as ensure greater freedom to fulfil their steward mandates in occupational health without interference.