Today, the Government of Finland deposited the instrument of ratification of the Chemicals Convention, 1990 (No. 170) with the International Labour Office, thereby becoming the 18th member State to ratify the Convention.
When depositing the instrument of ratification, Ambassador Päivi Kairamo, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, stated that “Through this convention Finland commits itself to international co-operation on the safe use of chemicals.”
In receiving the instrument of ratification, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Mr. Guy Ryder, stated “I am pleased to register the ratification of this important occupational safety and health Convention by Finland which joins the other seventeen countries that have already ratified it. This brings the total number of ratifications of ILO Conventions by Finland to 104. The ratification of Convention No. 170 by Finland is a true testimony to the Government’s commitment to prevent and reduce the incidence of chemically induced illnesses and injuries at work as well as to ensure the effective control of chemical risks at the workplace. I am sure that the Government of Finland will continue to set high standards in the safe use of chemicals at the workplace and contribute to the strengthening of international cooperation in dealing with chemical and environmental hazards in the workplace.”
With the increasing use of chemicals at work globally, the ILO estimates that chemicals cause almost half a million work-related deaths annually. In this context, cancer is considered to be the most serious occupational disease. Convention No.170 calls on Member States to adopt and implement a coherent policy on safety in the use of chemicals at work. It also calls for the establishment of national systems for the classification of chemicals, and the provision of safety and health information to users through labels and chemical safety data sheets to be ensured by suppliers. It provides for specific preventive measures to be taken by employers and the obligation for workers to cooperate with employers and comply with procedures relating to safety in the use of chemicals at work. It allocates a specific responsibility to exporting States.