IOSH and International Labour Organization sign agreement to improve occupational safety and health worldwide

December 7, 2021

IOSH and the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) have signed an agreement to enable joint activities that improve working conditions and protect workers around the world.

The memorandum of understanding aligns IOSH’s vision for a safer and healthier world of work with the ILO’s main aims to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection, and strengthen social dialogue on work-related issues.

Both bodies have formally agreed to collaborate in ways that use their reach, influence, and technical and training expertise to participate in missions that achieve positive impacts through enhanced safety, health and wellbeing at work.

The ILO is the primary UN body supporting working conditions and worker protection globally in a unique tripartite structure representing workers, employers, and governments across 187 member states. For more than a century, it has set labour standards, including on occupational safety and health, developed policies and devised programmes promoting decent work for all working people.

For over 75 years, IOSH, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, has grown to become the world’s largest professional body for people responsible for the health, safety, and wellbeing of colleagues working in 130 countries in nearly every sector.

IOSH’s strategic aim is to enhance the occupational safety and health profession, collaborate to build strategic partnerships, and influence and strengthen impact globally.

Its members dedicate their working lives to preventing harm, enabling safe operations, and keeping people healthy and productive at work. IOSH networks in the Middle East, South-East Asia and West Africa extend and enhance our ability to make meaningful impacts.

Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher, Chief Executive of IOSH, said: “The agreement we have now signed builds on relationships of trust, respect and practical support that IOSH and the ILO have formed steadily over a number of years. There’s so much we can achieve as partners.

“Our shared intention to collaborate comes at a crucial moment for the world of work. People and their employers are reflecting on how to achieve sustainable, resilient ways of working and living to recover from and survive crises like climate change and pandemic.

“I am pleased IOSH and the ILO each recognise potential in combining our knowledge and global connections. We’re keen to explore how OSH professionals can intervene in places and occupations where harm is most challenging, and we look forward to working together.”

Joaquim Pintado Nunes, Chief of the Labour Administration, Labour Inspection and Occupational Safety and Health Branch of the ILO, said: “Occupational safety and health is at the heart of what the ILO does, advocating for decent work and engaging with governments, employers and workers to improve policy and regulatory frameworks and strengthen the institutional capacities required for sound and developed national systems. The needs we see in many countries are large scale, and collaborations such as this one will assist us to better respond to the challenges faced by our Member States.”

The ILO’s Safety + Health for All Flagship Programme seeks to improve the health and safety of workers worldwide. One of five global programmes of the International Labour Organization, the Programme mobilises government institutions, employers’ organisations, workers’ organisations and other key stakeholders to implement strategic interventions at enterprise, sectoral, national and global level.

An integral part of the Flagship Programme is the Vision Zero Fund, an initiative of the intergovernmental Group of Seven (G7) countries which aims is to prevent work-related deaths, injuries and diseases in sectors operating in or aspiring to join global supply chains. The Fund promotes a model of collective action that mobilizes a wide range of stakeholders, including global business, to develop and implement joint solutions to address endemic safety and health challenges in global supply chains. It is currently active in the agriculture, construction and garment / textiles sectors in eight countries on three continents.


This is valid as of 7th December 2021.

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