Labour Inspection

In recent years, the importance of labour inspection in promoting Decent Work has been widely recognised, yet many labour inspectorates are poorly resourced and are unable to make a significant impact in the world of work.

International standards for labour inspection have existed for many years. These include the Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (No.81), and the Labour Inspection (Agriculture) Convention 1969 (No. 129). Other Conventions include provisions on labour inspection such as the Convention concerning Occupational Safety and Health and the Working Environment, 1981 (No. 155); the Convention concerning the promotional framework for occupational safety and health, 2006 (No. 187) and the Convention concerning the Inspection of Seafarers' Working and Living Conditions, 1996 (No. 178) which recognises the need of a labour inspection for the sea people.

In many countries, the changing world of work with its new employment patterns have been accompanied by reduced government interventions in the workplace. So even where there is general assent to the benefits of labour inspection, the real impact of labour inspectors has often been limited, especially among vulnerable or hard-to-reach groups and the expanding informal economy, as recent accident and ill-health trends show.

  • LAB/ADMIN aims at strengthening labour inspection systems with a view to ensuring compliance with labour laws and sound labour inspection policies. In so doing, LAB/ADMIN provides the following main services: act as a leading unit within the ILO for labour inspection and compliance strategies;
  • assess labour inspection systems in the framework of relevant ILO standards;
  • provide technical assistance and guidance on labour inspection topics to constituents;
  • assist in updating relevant labour and administrative legislation;
  • promote an exchange of good practices and initiatives to improve labour inspection efficiency;
  • design and manage relevant technical programmes on labour inspection;
  • undertake research on relevant topics, including innovative approaches to promote compliance with labour legislation;
  • promote gender balance among the staff of labour inspectorates;
  • support the institutional development of labour inspection through international networks.