Workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses remain at unacceptably high levels and involve an enormous and unnecessary health burden, suffering, and economic loss amounting to 4-5% of GDP of countries. According to ILO projections for the year 2000 there are 2.0 million work-related deaths per year. Only 10-15% of workers have access to a basic standard of occupational health services. WHO is implementing a global strategy to (a) provide evidence for policy, legislation and support to decision makers, (b) to provide infrastructure support and development through capacity building, information dissemination and networking, and (c) to support protection and promotion of workers' health. Through the global occupational health programme in WHO headquarters, regional offices and country offices, and supported by a strong network of 70 Collaborating Centers, work is carried out to estimate the magnitude of the burden of occupational diseases and injuries. WHO also assists countries to develop or upgrade their national occupational health profiles and action plans and to create the capacity to implement the plans. Between 2001 and 2004 WHO developed and implemented a global workplan in collaboration with the WHO Network of Collaborating Centres. The workplan has been updated in 2003 to strengthen capacity building activities, particularly on practical solutions, and to enhance work addressing selected priority groups, such as health care workers. The workplan organizes the Collaborating Centers into 15 Task Forces that carry out projects in priority areas, supporting the implementation of the global strategy.