Over than 60 million workers worldwide will gain through practical advice on enhancing safety and health in one of the world’s oldest export industries.

Professionals from governments, employers’ and workers’ organisations have approved the first code of practise on safety and health in textiles, clothes, leather, and footwear.

The code, which is based on international labour standards and other sectoral guidelines, offers thorough and concrete advice on what to eradicate, mitigate, and control all significant hazards and dangers. Inorganic compounds, ergonomic and physical risks, tools, machines, and devices, as well as building and fire safety, are all covered.

“Having spent the last 50 years regulating, enforcing, and especially promoting occupational safety and health, I can personally attest to the fact that the adoption of this ILO Code of Practice is a landmark in the textiles, clothing, leather, and footwear industries,” said Jukka Takala, chair of the experts’ meeting that adopted the code.

The COVID-19 crisis has had a significant impact on the textile, garment, leather, and footwear industries. Entire industries have now been forced to shut down manufacturing, resulting in the loss of millions of jobs.

“Occupational safety is a concern for companies all throughout the world,” said John Beckett, vice-chair of the employers’ group.

Every year, around 2.8 million people worldwide result in the death of work-related accidents and diseases in various industries. Another 160 million workers are afflicted with occupational disorders, and 374 million are injured on the job. Work-related injuries and diseases cost the global economy more than 4% of its annual gross domestic product (GDP).