Everyone Deserves to Work in a Safe and Healthy Workplace, International Labor Organisation (ILO) Stipulates

19-06-2022

The right to a safe and healthy environment has now become a fundamental right for everyone at work.

This is the result of a decision taken by the 110th International Labour Conference which, on 10 June 2022 adopted a landmark resolution to include safe and healthy work environments to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at work.

What are the implications of this decision?

This means that Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) will now be added to the current four Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, alongside freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining; the elimination of forced or compulsory labour; the abolition of child labour; the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation

This is huge. In practice, all 187 ILO Member States now commit to respect and promote the fundamental right to a safe and healthy working environment. Importantly, the commitment applies regardless of whether a country has ratified Convention No 155 Occupational Health and Safety, 1981 and Convention No 187 Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health, 2006, both of which are now referred to as “fundamental Conventions”. 

By elevating OHS to a fundamental right at work, the decision also sends a strong signal that work-related sicknesses and injuries are still a too widespread reality today, and one that needs urgent attention from both governments and businesses.  

amfori BSCI

The two new fundamental Conventions are already referenced in the amfori BSCI Code of Conduct Glossary and References.

The amfori BSCI Code of Conduct has a long-standing reputation for covering Occupational Health and Safety extensively. Adherence to the Code’s principles and values means, amongst others, that signatories commit to healthy working and living conditions for workers and local communities, with an emphasis on special protection of vulnerable persons. They also commit to setting up systems to assess, identify, prevent, and mitigate potential threats to health and safety of workers, and to keep records of all health and safety incidents in the workplace and all facilities.

To further ensure that the principle of a safe and healthy working environment is effectively adhered to, additional and more detailed guidelines have been added to the OHS chapter of the new amfori BSCI Code of Conduct 2021. Those include a commitment to consider distinctive health concerns and needs of all genders and ages; a commitment to an adequate number of safe, separate toilets for all genders, and paper towels and washbasins with hand soap in all work areas; and a commitment to ensure clean and safe residential facilities, whether they are provided or mandated, that meet all the basic needs of the workers.

For more information, please contact Valentina.bolognesi@amfori.org, Senior Social Policy Advisor