A new report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), released to mark World Day for Safety and Health at Work, has found that 7,000 health workers have died since the outbreak of the crisis, while 136 million health and social care workers are at risk of contracting Covid-19 through work. The report looks at how countries can minimise the risks for everyone in the workplace, in the event of future health emergencies. It also highlights the mental health pressures associated with the pandemic: one in five healthcare workers globally, has reported depression and anxiety symptoms. The report outlines the critical roles played during the pandemic by strong workplace guidance backed by enforcement, and calls for them to be dovetailed with national crisis emergency plans. “There could be no clearer demonstration of the importance of a strong, resilient, occupational safety and health environment. Recovery and prevention will require better national policies, institutional and regulatory frameworks, properly integrated into crisis response frameworks”, said ILO Director General Guy Ryder. Sixty-five percent of enterprises surveyed by the ILO and the G20 OSH Network, focused on occupational safety, reported that worker morale has been difficult to sustain while teleworking. The report stated that small and micro-sized enterprises have often found it hard to meet official safety-at-work requirements because many have lacked the resources to adapt to the threats posed by the pandemic. In the informal economy, the UN agency warned that many of the world’s 1.6 billion workers in the sector, especially in developing countries, have continued working despite lockdowns, restrictions on movement and social interaction. This has put them at high risk of catching the virus, yet most do not have access to basic social protection, such as sick leave or sick pay. International labour standards (ILS) offer specific guidance on how to respond to these challenges and reduce the risk of virus transmission in the workplace, the report says. They provide tools to implement safety-first measures and to ensure that workers, employers and Governments, can maintain decent work, while adjusting to the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic. ILS also encourages social dialogue as the best way to ensure that procedures and protocols are effectively implemented and accepted, the report concludes.