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The ILO considers occupational health and safety a "fundamental right."

 The ILO considers occupational health and safety a "fundamental right."

The ILO considers occupational health and safety a "fundamental right."

With telecommuting and incarceration, the issue of workplace health has become a fundamental right, the ILO said.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) has elevated workplace health and safety to a "fundamental right" for workers worldwide, the ILO announced Friday, June 10, 2022, on Twitter. "The right to a safe and healthy working environment is already included in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work," the Geneva-based organization wrote on the social network.

The declaration, adopted in 1998, previously included four categories of rights: Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of forced labor, the effective abolition of child labor, and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. Following last Friday's positive vote by the International Labor Conference (ILO), the international labor parliament, the right to health and safety at work will be added to the list.

Binding on the organization's member states

In particular, the inclusion of this new principle in the ILO's Declaration of Fundamental Rights will impose several obligations on the organization's member states. The declaration states "clearly" and unambiguously" that the rights it enshrines "are universal and apply to all peoples and all States, regardless of their level of development," the ILO said.

"This commitment is strengthened by a monitoring process," that is, by sending regular reports to the ILO on individual countries' progress and obstacles to implementing these fundamental rights. Trade unions around the world have long called for the inclusion of occupational safety and health in the Declaration of Fundamental Rights.

"This amendment to the ICESCR is the first expansion of workers' basic human rights in a quarter-century," the International Trade Union Confederation said in a statement, hailing the change as an "important step forward." "More than three million workers die each year because of their work, and another 10 million suffer from work-related injuries or health problems," the ILO added. Unions hope the ILO vote will "begin to reverse this deadly trend."


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