70% of work-related deaths worldwide occur in Asia Pacific – ILO

MANILA, Philippines – Recent estimates by the International Labor Organization (ILO) showed that the Asia Pacific region has the highest chunk of work-related deaths in the world at 70%.

On Friday, April 28 – World Day for Safety and Health at Work – ILO said 1.4 million out of the 2.3 million annual work-related death toll are in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Most work-related deaths and non-fatal accidents occur in low- and middle-income countries of the region," the ILO said.

While this annual rate is already staggering, the ILO said the problem of occupational hazard may be worse, raising the possibility of underreporting. It noted noting that no country reports 100% of its occupational deaths.

The United Nations agency stressed that governments should improve reporting of occupational safety and health (OSH) cases to help the creation of evidence-based policies.

"The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls on countries to collect, utilize, and report OSH data as a means to measure progress in protecting labor rights and promoting safe and secure working environments for all workers," said the ILO.

"Countries have the primary responsibility for followup and review of the progress made in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will require quality and accessible data collection," it stressed.

Tragic factory fires

Photo by Nelson Vera/Rappler

Just this February, 5 factory workers died in a massive fire in the Japanese-owned House Technologies Industries (HTI) in the Cavite Export Processing Zone in the Philippines.

The Philippine Export Processing Authority (PEZA) earlier absolved HTI from violating safety standards. But an investigation of several labor unions found the firm violated saftey standars such as the provision of a fire exit that leads to a street and the mandated number of 4 exits in a space occupied by 1,000 persons. 


On May 13, 2015, another huge fire killed 74 workers in the factory of Kentex Manufacturing Corporation in Valenzuela City. Charges were filed against Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian, but the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan dismissed it. 

Members of the Associated Labor Union lighted candles on Friday to remember the fire victims. – Rappler.com

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.