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International Labour Organisation adopt new Health & Safety Standards
26/06/2006

- The 95th annual Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) has adopted a series of standards and measures addressing health and safety of workers and flexible working arrangements, while not enforceable in the Uk these are generally seen as being of assistance in context of the ongoing health and safety debate in the UK.

Delegates to the annual meeting overwhelmingly adopted a new Promotional Framework Convention on Occupational Safety and Health and accompanying Recommendation.

The ILO estimates that some 6,000 workers die each day as a result of work-related accidents or illness. The new measures will promote the development of a "preventative safety and health culture" through the elevation of occupational safety and health high on national agendas by launching national occupational safety and health programmes, as well as the promotion of safer and healthier working environments through preventive measures.

The Convention passed by a vote of 455 for and 2 against, with 5 abstentions. The accompanying Recommendation was also adopted by a vote of 458 for and 3 against and 6 abstentions

The measures are based on the ILO's Global Strategy on Occupational Safety and Health adopted by the 2003 International Labour Conference which emphasized the importance of building and maintenance of a national preventative safety and health culture, and a systems approach to safety and health.

Delegates also adopted an international labour Recommendation on the Employment Relationship. The new standard proposes to member States the formulation and adoption, in consultation with workers and employers, of national policies on effectively establishing the existence of an employment relationship and on the distinction between employed and self-employed workers; combating disguised employment relationships and ensuring standards applicable to all forms of contractual arrangements. The measure was approved by a vote of 329 for and 94 against, with 40 abstentions.

The Conference also adopted a Resolution on Wednesday concerning exposure to asbestos which causes some 100,000 deaths worldwide per year. The Resolution declares that the elimination of the future use of asbestos and the identification and proper management of asbestos currently in place are the most effective means to protect workers from asbestos exposure and to prevent future asbestos-related diseases and deaths. It also resolves that the
ILO's Asbestos Convention 1986 (No. 162) should not be used to provide a justification for, or endorsement of, the continued use of asbestos.


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