Rapid and high impact response to the pressing challenges of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented health emergency and continues to be a significant threat to workers’ safety and health around the world. Applying its expertise in workplace safety, the Vision Zero Fund has been able to respond rapidly and effectively to this crisis.
We provided timely technical advice on the health risks of COVID-19 and the need to strengthen OSH protections in supply chains. It developed a number of new tools, guidelines, and country response plans which were implemented globally. Online trainings were conducted in various sectors on emergency preparedness. The Vision Zero Fund worked to expand its reach and collaborated with other ILO programmes across many countries to help prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in supply chains.
Due to the widespread and prevalent nature of the pandemic, employers have begun to place increasing focus on OSH. The Vision Zero Fund is now working closer than ever with businesses and other stakeholders to build on these responses moving forward. The Vision Zero Fund will continue to expand its network of stakeholders and collaborators to ensure a fair, sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19.
In the field
As part of COVID-19 response, the VZF supported 235 factories in establishing and strengthening COVID-19 taskforces as per the COVID-19 workplace protocol; built the capacity of 15 OSH committees and carried out 35 workplace inspections. In addition, collaboration initiatives with stakeholders put in place a mechanism to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in 14 factories by building 86 health, maintenance and sanitation workers capacity in sanitation and disinfection skills.
Community outreach works conducted through print and mass media, virtual and awareness raising videos and trainings, signage and brochures, also transformed workplaces and community hotspots creating corrective actions to halt the spread of COVID-19.
In line with the priorities of the National COVID Task Force Committee for Lao PDR and the joint UN COVID Emergency Response Plan, the project has implemented several COVID-19 related activities in Champasak province. The Vision Zero Fund for example provided COVID infection prevention training for dormitory managers as well as training for OSH Committees on emergency preparedness with focus on communicable diseases.
In Mexico, the project developed a set of guidelines for the agricultural sector, which was distributed throughout the region. Similarly, the Vision Zero Fund also created guidelines in Honduras and Mexico on the prevention of COVID-19 infection in each stage of the agriculture and coffee supply chains.
We provided online training on this to the Honduran council of private companies, and in Mexico and Colombia were developed other online courses on the same issue. These tools are being adapted for the forthcoming global toolkit on OSH in the coffee supply chain.
The response in Madagascar centered around distributing information and advice on COVID-19 to key stakeholders. In June 2020, it supported the creation of strategic plans to train textile companies on COVID-19 prevention and mitigation techniques. In addition, the project distributed personal protective equipment and conducted visits to over 600 businesses.
As part of the global Safe Day celebrations in April 2020, the project team created a highly successful social media campaign for COVID-19 prevention. It served as a resource and platform to share information on COVID-19, social security benefits during the pandemic, and addressed important topics such as safety precautions for migrant workers returning from Thailand.