For twenty years, April 28 has been observed as the World Day for Safety and Health at Work to spotlight the need to prevent accidents and diseases at work.

This year, the United Nations is highlighting emerging occupational risks that may be caused by technical innovation or by social or organisational change, such as new technologies and production processes such as nanotechnology and biotechnology, and new working conditions, including higher workloads, work intensification from downsizing, and poor conditions associated with migration for work.

April 28 is also the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers, organised worldwide by the trade union movement since 1996 to honour the memory of victims of occupational accidents and diseases.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) promotes industrial safety and safe working conditions and, as a contribution to World Day for Safety and Health at Work 2023, has launched a new training course, Occupational Safety and Health Aspects of Leather Manufacturing.

The leather sector is often leveraged in growing economies to create thousands of jobs. To protect workers in the tanneries, special care must be taken to raise awareness of the risks and hazards of the leathermaking process, as well as to make constant improvements in working conditions and safety standards.

UNIDO’s course is an interactive training that makes use of resources and tools developed by other organisations such as the Confederation of National Associations of Tanners and Dressers of the European Community (Cotance), the Leather Working Group (LWG), the Sustainable Leather Foundation (SLF), and the International Union of Leather Technologists and Chemists Societies (IULTCS).

Gustavo Gonzalez-Quijano, Secretary General of Cotance, said, “We want the appalling images of sub-standard tanneries circulating on the web to become something of the past. Cotance welcomes the excellent training materials that UNIDO has developed.”

Deborah Taylor, Managing Director of the SLF, commented, “SLF is proud to work closely with UNIDO, to endorse and support this training, and to recommend that all leather manufacturers integrate the UNIDO online learning portal as part of their in-house training responsibilities for their workers,” adding, “This latest updated course ensures that the most current and relevant information and advice is available for all leather manufacturing facilities, free of charge! There really is no excuse for lack of knowledge when it comes to ensuring safe and healthy workplaces.”

The course: Occupational Safety and Health Aspects of Leather Manufacturing is available here