More than 2.2 million people lose their lives through occupational accidents and from work-related diseases associated with chemicals released in the work environment, local media Wednesday quoted an official with the International Labor Organization (ILO) as having said.
Amadi Njoku, the Director of the ILO office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, stated this Tuesday in Abuja during a regional workshop on chemical hazard communication for the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) countries.
The ILO official said the situation was worse in less developed societies due to poor education and lack of information on the hazards and ways to mitigate them.
"In general, the health situation in the world is improving and life expectancy has increased. However, occupational diseases and injuries still force millions of people out of work, many of them forever," he said.
"Every year, 2.2 million women die in occupational accidents and from work-related diseases," he added.
Njoku said by conservative estimates, workers suffer 270 million occupational accidents and 160 million episodes of work-related diseases each year, adding that out of the number, about 35 million were caused by chemicals.
She said the ILO had been active in the area of safety in the use of chemicals at work, including the development of international treaties and other technical instruments and the development of chemical safety information systems.
(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2008)