Occupational safety and health in public health emergencies: a manual for protecting health workers and responders

Connecting Business initiative Secretariat • 8 July 2020

In its Emergency Response Framework, the World Health Organization (WHO) has defined an emergency as a situation that has an impact on the lives and well-being of a large number of people or a significant percentage of a population and requires substantial multisectoral assistance [1]. For a WHO response, there must be clear public health consequences. In addition, under the International Health Regulations (IHR), adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2005, a public health emergency of international concern is defined as “an extraordinary event which is determined, as provided in these Regulations: (i) to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and (ii) to potentially require a coordinated international response” [2]. Such events may include, inter alia, outbreaks of infectious diseases, hazardous chemical spills or releases of radiation. 

Photo credit: WHO