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SAEMA – Specialist Access Engineering and Maintenance Association – has a long history in delivering the best training and guidance in the temporary and permanent suspended access industry.

In keeping with our commitment to advancing safety through raising the standards in best practice, we keep in touch with all the latest developments – chiefly safety, worker welfare and the environment. We are pleased to share the following story from the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

IOSH has urged delegates at a major global conference to commit to “leave no one behind” in ensuring ALL workers are offered health and safety protection.

Ahead of the first anniversary of the adoption of a safe and healthy working environment as a fundamental principle and right at work by the International Labour Organization (ILO), IOSH said this remains a critical area for improvement.

Its Head of Policy Ruth Wilkinson addressed the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, which focuses on ‘advancing social justice’ and promoting decent work.

Highlighting that over half of the global workforce work in the informal economy with no regulatory health and safety protection, Ruth said it’s crucial occupational safety and health is elevated as a fundamental human right of every worker.

She said: “When the 110th session of this conference adopted a safe and healthy working environment as a fundamental principle and right at work, it confirmed most emphatically the intrinsic value of occupational safety and health to decent work.

“IOSH embedded this principle within our own five-year organisational strategy, launched this April. If social justice is to become a reality, safety and health at work must be mobilised as an agent of change.

“Protecting workers’ safety and health must become the lifeblood of our universal aspiration for social justice. With over half the global workforce working in the informal economy without regulatory health and safety protection, this remains a critical area for improvement and we all must commit to leaving no one behind.

“Adopting a fifth category of fundamental principles and rights at work must not remain a privilege for the few, but an entitlement for all workers.”

The ILO adopted a safe and healthy working environment as a fundamental principle and right at work at its conference on 10 June last year. IOSH celebrated it as “the biggest moment for workers’ rights in a quarter of a century”. At that conference, two conventions relating to occupational safety and health were ratified – The Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (convention 155) and The Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (Convention 187).

However, a year on, only 76 of 187 member states of the ILO have formally ratified convention 155 and 59 have ratified convention 187. Only 39 countries have ratified both conventions.

Ruth went on to urge delegates to “devote the greatest possible financial, political, technical and human resources” to support the implementation of the upcoming ILO Global Strategy on Occupational Safety and Health 2024-30. As part of a consultation exercise, IOSH will be one of the organisations providing input into the guiding principles and formulation of this renewed strategy.

She added: “IOSH pledges to make available the accumulated experience and knowledge of the thousands of individual occupational safety and health professionals worldwide whom it represents. Safer, healthier and more sustainable workplaces are essential in the fight for social justice.”