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September 1, 2022

Nike, ILO team to cut traffic accidents among garment workers

Nike Inc and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have launched an initiative to reduce injuries and deaths from road accidents among garment and footwear workers.

By Hannah Abdulla

The joint initiative from the ILO and Nike Inc aims to understand why garment and footwear workers are vulnerable to injuries and deaths resulting from commuting accidents and to lessen the adverse impact on workers, their families, and the sector as a whole. The goal is to work together to develop a common, standardised approach to reducing these accidents that can be adapted and replicated in different contexts.

According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 1.3m people are killed and up to 50m people are injured worldwide on roads every year. Commercial vehicles are involved in approximately 10-22% of all road crashes globally.

Garment and footwear sector workers are disproportionately involved in road accidents in many countries, the ILO says. The reasons behind this include commuting long distances, using less safe forms of transport such as motorcycles, walking to work, and sharing roads with heavy commercial vehicles.

The project’s approach includes creating a Theory of Change (TOC) on road safety for garment workers, which has been put together after consultations with workers, employers, governments and ILO specialists in a number of countries.

The Theory Of Change aims to throw light on the underlying causes of road accidents involving garment and footwear workers. The partnership will also develop practical, easy-to-use guidance materials on commuting safety, which will be piloted by the Fund and Nike in a country where contract manufacturing facilities produce Nike products.

“At Nike, we know a world-class supply chain is grounded in standards that demonstrate respect for the people who make and move our product, and the principles of a healthy and safe workplace,” said Nike’s director for health and safety, Sittichoke Huckuntod. “With this joint initiative on road safety, we look to expand our collaboration with the Vision Zero Fund, which we feel will help Nike manufacturers be leaders in safety across the extended supply chain and beyond.”

Vision Zero Fund’s global programme manager, Ockert Dupper, added: “Existing laws and enforcement mechanisms often focus on vehicle drivers, which falls short when it comes to providing sustainable solutions. This is why we are excited about the partnership with Nike. It gives us an opportunity – in collaboration with ILO’s Better Factories Cambodia – to identify the underlying causes beyond vehicle drivers that need to be addressed to reduce injuries and deaths from road accidents, and to collectively develop a more powerful and standardised approach to reduce commuting accidents in the garment supply chain.”

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