The 7th to 13th May 2017 marks North American Occupational Safety and Health Week (NAOSH).
First launched in 1997, NAOSH week is marked by an agreement between the North American countries of Canada, the US and Mexico, which arose from talks about workplace safety within the boundaries of the three nations, discussed by government labour department representatives as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks. COHS (Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Week) had previously been observed for a ten year period from 1986 to 1996
The proposal to expand the COHS format into the North American arena was formalized with the CSSE Board of Directors at their spring 1996 meeting and NAOSH came into being the following year. CSSE is the official recognised safety body responsible for pulling together the elements of NAOSH Week, the goal of which is to ‘focus employers, employees, partners and the public on the importance of preventing injury and illness in the workplace, at home, and in the community’.
The logo that was developed for promotional activities during this important week is, in itself inspiring, with the hands of a triangle representing the three participating nations and further symbolising joint venture, co-operation and a commitment to the common goals shared by all occupational health and safety practitioners. The three sides further stand for all tripartite partnerships between business, labour and governments with connected hands illustrating assistance and cooperation on multiple levels – from interpersonal relationships in the workplace to international exchange.
Each year, more people are killed in an occupational incident that die in wars and most of these deaths would have been preventable. NAOSH Week is an important tool in raising awareness of workplace safety and what we can all do to observe safe working practices.
Visit the NAOSH website for information on how you can get involved and help to spread the message in your workplace.