United Nations Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum, Asia-Pacific
Day 3 | 9 June
A Safe and Healthy Workplace as a Fundamental Principle and Right at Work
Respecting and protecting human rights in the world of work is a pressing concern in the global economy. The ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, first adopted in 1998 and amended in 2022, is essential to achieving this goal as it expresses the commitment of governments, employers and workers' organizations to uphold basic human values that are vital to the social and economic lives.
With the recognition of a safe and healthy working environment as the 5th Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW) in 2022, OSH has become a topic of particular interest in how it intersects with other FPRWs and contributes to addressing challenges in protecting workers’ rights in the workplace. This is also recognized in the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration) - first adopted in 1977 and most recently amended in 2022 - that includes specific principles regarding occupational safety and health (OSH) addressed to governments and enterprises.
States must now effectively protect and promote the rights enshrined in the two ILO fundamental OSH Conventions 155 and 187 at national level. The ILO Violence and Harassment Convention 190 is also important in this context, as it recognizes that violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment, are incompatible with decent work. This convention is another crucial proof of the importance of promoting a safe and healthy working environment that is free from violence and harassment. This plays a critical role in achieving State’s duty to respect human rights and an enterprise's goal of respecting human rights.
The session will center on the experiences and insights of various stakeholders including governments, employers, workers, and businesses, in addressing a safe and healthy working environment as part of the effort to promote the protection and respect of human rights in business operations. The focus will be on the resolution that underscores the integration of OSH with other FPRWs, giving particular attention to good practices by all the ILO constituents across different countries/sectors.
The discussion intends to provide valuable insights and recommendations on how action by all ILO Members to promote OSH as a Fundamental Principle and Right at Work can contribute to the business and human rights agenda and how to replicate and further develop good practices, promote a culture of respect for workers, and establish a mutually beneficial workplace environment for both workers and enterprises. It will show that safe and healthy workplaces are good for business, including for increased productivity.