Labour inspection

Labour inspection is an essential part of the labour administration system, carrying out the fundamental function of labour law enforcement and effective compliance.

What is it?

In essence, labour inspection has a twofold nature. On the one hand, it supervises the enforcement of legal provisions, particularly with regard to workers’ rights – including working and employment conditions, occupational safety and health but also social services, migrant workers, vocational training, social security and other matters. On the other hand, labour inspection provides information and advice, as well as training for ensuring that violations of labour legislation and work-related sickness, diseases and injuries are prevented.

This dual nature means that labour inspection systems play a key role for ensuring fairness in the workplace and good governance in the world of work.
Labour inspectors play an important role in preventing children from working at too early age, and also in addressing hazardous child labour by inspecting workplace and advising employers and workers about legislation concerning hazardous work.

Labour inspectors can also use their legal powers in the workplace to ensure that:
• Employers and workers have proper knowledge and awareness about laws and regulations concerning children’s work and they can effectively prevent underage children from being employed and/or participating in work;
• Children under legal age of employment found working are withdrawn from workplaces and referred to appropriate authorities who can then help to find solutions to their situation;
• The health and safety of children who have reached the minimum legal age to work (15-17 years of age in Thailand) is fully protected in the workplace. Protection can be ensured through a combination of general improvements in workplace health and safety conditions and avoidance of children carrying out hazardous tasks.

What is being done?

ILO IPEC works towards building the capacity of labour inspectorate and other enforcement agencies to take action against child labour, especially in respect of hazardous child labour and identification of child labour situations. It is in this context that IPEC collaborates with the DLPW on enhancement of labour inspection to address child labour issues in the shrimp and seafood industry in Thailand.
• Labour inspection system review has been undertaken jointly with DLPW;
• Labour Inspection capacity building and training programme is being developed to assist labour inspectors to address effectively child labour, forced labour and trafficking related issues;
• International good practices on labour inspection is made available and fed into labour inspection enhancement work such as through South – South cooperation;
• Labour inspectors and OSH inspectors are provided with guidance materials and training on child labour and the ways to address child labour as a part of the ILO-IPEC and DLPW joint efforts on developing guidelines on OSH, hazardous child labour and the Good Labour Practices (GLP) programme in the shrimp and seafood industry.