In a landmark decision, the International Labour Conference, held in Geneva in June, has added health and safety to the ILO Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

It is estimated that more than 3 million workers die every year because of their work, and tens of millions are injured. The decision by the ILC on 10 June to make health and safety a Fundamental Principle and Right at Work, means that all ILO member states commit to respect and promote the fundamental right to a safe and healthy working environment, whether or not they have ratified the relevant ILO Conventions.

“This is a huge union win and a crucial step to make working life safer for the world’s workers,” says IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie. “It is a milestone in the global efforts to stem the tide of deaths in the world of work. We can now look forward to a better tomorrow, where workers will be safe in the knowledge that health and safety will be a fundamental principle and right at work.”

This is the first extension of workers’ fundamental human rights, since the four rights were adopted in 1998:

  • Freedom of association and the effective recognition of 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

Each of the fundamental principles is associated with the most relevant ILO Conventions. The new fundamental Conventions will be the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No.155) , and the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No. 187).

Reposted from IndustriALL.