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Occupational safety and health

ILO Governing Body approves new list of occupational diseases

The Governing Body of the International Labour Office (ILO) approved a new list of occupational diseases at its meeting on 25 March 2010. Designed to assist countries in the prevention, recording, notification and, if applicable, compensation of diseases caused by work, this new list replaces the one in the Annex to the Recommendation concerning the List of Occupational Diseases and the Recording and Notification of Occupational Accidents and Diseases (No. 194) which was adopted in 2002.

News | 25 March 2010

The Governing Body of the International Labour Office (ILO) approved a new list of occupational diseases at its meeting on 25 March 2010.

This new list now replaces the one in the Annex to the Recommendation concerning the List of Occupational Diseases and the Recording and Notification of Occupational Accidents and Diseases (No. 194) which was adopted in 2002.

This ILO list of occupational diseases is designed to assist countries in the prevention, recording, notification and, if applicable, compensation of diseases caused by work.

The new list includes a range of internationally recognized occupational diseases, from illnesses caused by chemical, physical and biological agents to respiratory and skin diseases, musculoskeletal disorders and occupational cancer. Mental and behavioural disorders have for the first time, been specifically included in the ILO list. This list also has open items in all the sections dealing with the afore-mentioned diseases. The open items allow the recognition of the occupational origin of diseases not specified in the list if a link is established between exposure to risk factors arising from work activities and the disorders contracted by the worker.

The new list has been the result of careful technical preparation and political negotiation which include consultations with the tripartite constituents, feedbacks from member States, analysis of the new and emerging risk factors at the workplace, examination of the national practice in the recognition of occupational diseases, evaluation of the international scientific development in identification of occupational diseases and review and revision by tripartite meetings of experts.

The criteria used by the tripartite constituents for deciding what specific diseases to be considered in the updated list include: that there is a causal relationship with a specific agent, exposure or work process; that they occur in connection with the work environment and/or in specific occupations; that they occur among the groups of workers concerned with a frequency which exceeds the average incidence within the rest of the population; and that there is scientific evidence of a clearly defined pattern of disease following exposure and plausibility of cause.

“Creating safe and healthy working conditions is a challenge to which the ILO has been responding since it was founded in 1919. As our world develops, with new technologies and new patterns of work, the challenges change and new risks emerge. When safety and health measures are not followed or fail, accidents, injuries, diseases and even deaths may occur. Victims of workplace injuries and occupational diseases have to be compensated properly and prevention actions at workplace are needed so that similar cases will be prevented. This new list of occupational diseases reflects the state-of-the art development in the identification and recognition of occupational diseases in the world of today. It indicates clearly where prevention and protection should take place. The world’s working population and their families will benefit from this new list.” said Seiji Machida, Director of the ILO’s Programme on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment (SafeWork).

Further information

Tags: occupational safety and health

Unit responsible: Labour Administration, Labour Inspection and Occupational Safety and Health

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