The XXII World Congress Takeaways

The Takeaways are a selection of top learnings and themes that came out of the XXII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work. They offer an opportunity to reflect on your experience and to take a closer look at the ideas that were brought forward by inspiring speakers and fellow OSH professionals.

Connecting digitally and across borders

With close to 2,000 unique platform accounts created, 242,954 live interactions, 1,066 exchanged business cards, and over 10,000 questions asked in Q&A, the high engagement at the very first fully digital World Congress demonstrates the relevance of our main theme: Prevention in the Connected Age: Global solutions to achieve safe and healthy work for all. It’s also a true testament to the global OSH community’s ability to adapt and come together despite a challenging new reality.

Here are some of the highlights from the XXII World Congress:

Innovations in Addressing Longstanding Safety and Health Challenges

In a technical session that has accumulated over 1,159 claps and 1,800 views and counting, Ms. Jody Young from the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, highlighted how responses to the pandemic demonstrated how truly agile and adaptive regulators can be when required:

“Through the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19, we’ve learned how truly nimble and responsive we can be as a regulator. Administrative barriers can be removed in a timely manner when we really need to.”

Head to the platform or Register for VOD to watch Technical Session 4: COVID-19 and the protection of workers: lessons from the global pandemic.

Global challenges need global solutions, and this is especially true when it comes to the global supply chain. Ms. Kalpona Akter from the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity reflected on the 2013 Dhaka garment factory collapse and the need for furthering OSH measures:

“There have been many improvements in occupational health and safety in Bangladesh following the Rana Plaza disaster, but much more needs to be done, especially in protecting workers’ right to freedom of association.”

Head to the platform or Register for VOD to watch Symposia 14: Strengthening worker health protection in global supply chains.

There has been a global reckoning with the fact that the factors that affect a workers’ health and safety go way beyond the physical workplace. In a Technical Session about innovations in tripartite governance, Ms. Marie Clarke Walker from the Canadian Labour Congress touched on the ratification of C-190:

“Every person in the world of work should feel that Convention 190, the prevention of violence and harassment at work, applies to them. Convention 190 demonstrates the power of Tripartism to improve the people’s working lives.”

Head to the platform or Register for VOD to watch Technical Session 3: Innovations in tripartite governance of occupational safety and health.

Implications of the Changing World of Work for Occupational Safety and Health

Part of the world is still suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, while others have begun to heal while dealing with the aftermath. During a discussion on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. David Michaels from George Washington University highlighted the need for stronger protection standards going forward.

“COVID has opened our eyes to the need for stronger standards, not just for healthcare workers, but for all workers employed in essential industries and who work in areas where they might be exposed to this virus.”

Head to the platform or Register for VOD to watch Technical Session 4: COVID-19 and the protection of workers: lessons from the global pandemic.

In a highly informative keynote that attracted over 2,000 views to date and produced over 1,200 claps from the audience, Dr. John Howard from the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health addressed common anxieties and challenged prevalent assumptions around the role of technology in the future of work:

“Technological job displacement: the question is, are more jobs being created than jobs destroyed? No historical or contemporary evidence that technological advances are driving us to a jobless future.”

Head to the platform or Register for VOD to watch Keynote address: The power of technology in the future of work.

During Technical Session 5, we heard about regulating OSH as the shape of the workplace rapidly changes. As we all deal with a constantly evolving landscape, it’s important to be reminded of our collective mission. During an opening session that received a thundering 4,859 claps from you, Mr. Guy Ryder, Director General of the ILO did just that:

“A future in which public institutions, the private sector, employers, workers, and their organizations engage in collective action to achieve the still unattained goal of zero injuries, zero disease, and zero deaths at work.”

Head to the platform or Register for VOD to watch the Opening Session.

Advancing a Culture of Prevention

Between Technical Session 5, Symposia 10, Symposia 12, the ISSA Report and more, all Vision Zero content combined have accumulated a whopping 5,589 page views to date, demonstrating the enthusiasm OSH professionals from across the globe have for the 7 Golden Rules. The Vision Zero prevention strategy was mentioned early on in the Congress, by Dr. Joachim Breuer, President of the International Social Security Association:

Can you imagine a few years ago reading such a sentence in the EU Framework: "All efforts must be deployed to reduce work-related deaths as much as possible in line with the Vision Zero approach."

Head to the platform or Register for VOD to watch all Vision Zero-related sessions.

In our Congress’ Opening Session, Mr. Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director and Co-Head for the Toronto International Film Festival spoke about the power of storytelling when communicating learnings. Knowing this, we should therefore not be surprised that a session that approached the subject of building a culture of prevention through workplace stories was amongst the 10 most-watched sessions of the congress. Here is one of our favorite quotes from Symposia 9, from Mr. Ricardo Vyhmeister of the ISSA Mining Advisory Council:

“Building a strong safety culture is a process of change. It cannot be accomplished in a day. Success requires sustained commitment”

Head to the platform or Register for VOD to watch Symposia 9 - Building a strong OSH culture: workplace stories.

Our spectacular Closing Session featured a trip around the world and beautiful performances by Canadian artists and received 3,896 claps from the audience. During one of the final addresses of the Congress, Dr. Cameron Mustard from the Canadian Institute for Work & Health had this to say:

“Across many, many sessions, speakers reminded us that successful occupational health and safety initiatives at the workplace will only succeed if the initiatives are developed with the participation of workers and their representatives. I would hope that all of us as delegates carry this key principle forward in our work.”

Head to the platform or Register for VOD to watch the Closing Session.

Congress highlight: the IMFP Watch Party

With 4,998 claps and 625 comments, the streaming of the International Media Festival for Prevention was one of the most engaging events throughout the XXII World Congress. We want to extend a very special thank you to all of the entrants and to our winners for using their creativity to promote our mission of creating a culture of prevention.

Group 1 : Fatal Attraction

Day of Mourning Videos, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (Ontario), Canada

Group 2 : Music is the Key

SIFAR (Zero), Social Security Organization, Malaysia

Group 3 : Serious Fun

Don’t be wild (“Nie bądź dziki”), Raben Group, Poland

Group 4 : Short Cuts

It’s good to be alive, as long as nothing bad happens (Das Leben ist schön, solange nichts passiert), Suva, Switzerland

Group 5 : Tell me a story

Killer on the loose, NLG - Never Let Go, United Kingdom

Group 6 : Walk a mile in their shoes

SAFE Work Manitoba - Level Up 2.0, Changemakers, Canada

Congratulations to our Poster Award Winners

Connection Hall was one of the Congress’s most engaging events, with multimedia poster presentations attracting over 4,000 views and Connection Hall Time networking sustaining ongoing delegate attention.

We want to congratulate our three World Congress President's Poster Award winners:

Under the topic Innovations in Addressing Longstanding Safety and Health Challenges:

Mr. Xabier Irastorza from Spain for his poster A Workers’ Survey on Exposure to Cancer Risk Factors in Europe: An Innovative Approach to get Comparable and Reliable Data for Prevention and Policy-making Purposes (P04-13)

Under the topic Implications of the Changing World of Work for Occupational Safety and Health:

Ms. Erica Rubic from Australia for her poster Creating mentally healthy workplaces through evidence-based education and early intervention in New South Wales, Australia (P03-37)

Under the topic Advancing a Culture of Prevention:

Mr. Muhammad Mujahid from Pakistan for his poster Vision Zero in Action: A Public-Private Sector Partnership Program in Implementation of Vision Zero (P09-29)

Head to the platform or Register for VOD to explore over 400 poster presentations from more than 50 countries.

Let us know what you loved about the XXII World Congress!

Your opinion matters to us, and your feedback is essential to making future digital and in-person World Congress events more educational, inspirational, and impactful for all of us. Please check your email for the survey link.

See you in 2023!

We’re looking forward to getting together once again for the XXIII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in Sydney, Australia!