Occupational safety and health (OSH)

The protection of workers against work-related sickness, disease and injury forms a part of the historical mandate of the ILO. It is estimated that 2.2 million people die annually from work related accidents and diseases, and a further 270 million workers fall victims of nonfatal occupational injuries. This results in substantial human and economic costs to workers and their families, employers, and society.

ILO standards on occupational safety and health provide essential tools for governments, employers, and workers to establish safe practices for providing maximum safety at work. In 2003 the ILO adopted a global strategy to improve occupational safety and health which emphasised the development of a preventive safety and health culture.
Young workers in particular are at risk as they are still developing their skills and do not always have the maturity of adult workers to understand work related risks and hazards. They are less experienced and more vulnerable to exploitation, and are therefore, more likely to be hurt or made ill from their job than are adult workers.
OSH and Hazardous Child Labour

Globally, hazardous child labour is the largest category of the worst forms of child labour with an estimated 115 million children aged 5-17 years working in dangerous conditions in sectors as diverse as agriculture, mining, construction, manufacturing, service industries, hotels, bars, restaurants, fast food establishments, and domestic service. Worldwide, the ILO estimates that some 22,000 children are killed at work every year. The numbers of those injured or made ill because of their work are not known.
Hazardous child labour is work in dangerous or unhealthy conditions that could result in a child being killed, or injured and/or made ill as a consequence of poor safety and health standards and working arrangements. Some injuries or ill health may result in permanent disability. Often health problems caused by working as a child labour may not develop or show up until the child is an adult.

Young workers of legal age (15-17 years in Thailand) when protected by legislation and by instituting appropriate OSH measures at the workplace and when aware and knowledgeable on safe work practices are less subject to hazardous work.

What has been done?

In Thailand the ILO-IPEC project is addressing the issue of occupational safety and health for young workers by working together with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare (DLPW), and the fisheries industry (including workers’ organizations and NGO’s active in the sector for better protection of young workers through:

• Assessment of existing regulations/guidance on OSH and working conditions for young workers
• Recommendations on addressing hazardous child labour (HCL) in shrimp and seafood processing industry;
• Good Labour Practices (GLP) Guidelines on existing standards on working conditions including recommendations for improved workplace policies and practices on child labour and OSH;
• Guidelines on safe work for youth (15-17 years) for DLPW staff and OSH professionals;
• Research on HCL and working conditions.
It is foreseen that this technical work will be followed by awareness raising and training both for marine shrimp aquaculture and shrimp and seafood processing industry on appropriate OSH practices and on prevention of hazardous child labour.