New ISSA Prevention Section on Trade

The International Social Security Association (ISSA) is boosting its work on occupational safety and health in the trade sector, by establishing an international section on Prevention in Trade, Goods logistics and Port handling.

The establishment of the international section on Prevention in Trade, Goods Logistics and Port handling is an important step forward in one of the driving sectors of the global economy. According to the World Trade Organization, global merchandise trade has historically grown around 50 per cent faster than world GDP growth. Strengthened focus on occupational safety and health in this sector is therefore of major importance not only to the workers and employers, but also to the global economy.

“Trade is the driving force of the global economy, marked by highly sophisticated supply chains across borders. It is therefore crucial to address the safety and health of workers at the international level” said Sigrid Roth, who will serve as Secretary General for the new Section on Prevention in Trade, Goods Logistics and Port handling. Ms Roth is a Senior Consultant at the German Statutory Accident Insurance for the Trade and Logistics Industries (Berufsgenossenschaft Handel und Warenlogistik – BGHW), Germany, which will host the new section.

Three-dimensional approach to prevention

The ISSA sees prevention and occupational safety and health as a key component of a holistic and proactive strategy for social security. It uses a three-dimensional approach to prevention, involving risk management, health promotion and return to work measures. The ISSA has also developed Vision Zero, the first-ever global campaign on safety, health and well-being at work. A recent report by the International Labour Organization shows that there are 2.8 million deaths and 374 million non-fatal accidents related to work every year. International research demonstrates that every dollar invested in safety and health generates a potential benefit of more than two dollars in positive economic effects.

“Prevention is the right strategy. Prevention is always better than cure, and our target is to save lives and to avoid accidents and diseases”, said Martina Hesse-Spötter, Chair of the ISSA Special Commission on Prevention, the ISSA’s umbrella body on occupational safety and health. The new ISSA Section on Prevention in Trade, Goods Logistics and Port handling will add to the 13 existing prevention sections, each working on sector-specific occupational risks. Its first President will be Mr Siong Hin Ho, Senior Director at the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Vice Dean at the MOM Academy, in Singapore.