An international panel of high-level decision makers and leaders gathered in Seoul, Korea, June 29 to adopt the Seoul Declaration on Safety and Health at Work, which will act as a blueprint for constructing a global culture of safety and health in workplaces.
Meeting prior to the XVIII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work, the first Safety and Health Summit included international leaders, government ministers, CEOs of major multinational companies, social security leaders, senior safety and health experts and representatives of employers and workers.
The International Labour Organization (ILO), in partnership with the International Social Security Association and the Korean Occupational and Safety Health Agency, joined together to organize the summit and encourage efforts to reduce the number of occupational accidents and diseases.
“The Declaration marks a major step in the establishment of a preventative safety and health culture,” said Assane Diop, executive director of ILO’s social protection sector.
By acknowledging that improving safety and health at work has a positive impact on working conditions, productivity and economic and social development, the declaration emphasizes that the right to a safe and healthy working environment should be recognized as a fundamental human right.
The declaration also calls on employers to ensure that prevention is an integral part of their activities. Employers should establish effective occupational safety and health management systems to improve workplace safety and health and to guarantee that workers are consulted, trained, informed and involved in the process.
In addition, workers should follow safety and health instructions and procedures, including those involving the use of personal protective equipment; participate in safety and health training and awareness-raising activities; and cooperate with their employers in adhering to measures related to safety and health at work.
Furthermore, the declaration encourages governments to consider ratifying the ILO Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 as a priority, as well as other relevant ILO conventions on safety and health at work. The declaration strives to ensure the implementation of these provisions – through a strong and effective labor inspection system – as a means of improving national performance on safety and health at work in a systematic way.
The signing parties committed to taking the lead in promoting a preventative safety and health culture and placing occupational safety and health high on national agendas. They agreed to review progress at the XIX World Congress on Safety and Health at Work in 2011.
For more information and to read the declaration, visit http://www.ilo.org.