17 Asia-Pacific countries focus on health and safety at Bangkok meeting

Delegates from 17 Asia-Pacific countries is meeting in Bangkok to look at ways to improve the safety and health of their workforces.

Press release | 12 May 2005

Delegates from 17 Asia-Pacific countries will be meeting inBangkokfrom16-19th May 2005to look at ways to improve the safety and health of their workforces.

The conference will be inaugurated by H.E. Mr. Sora-at Klinpratoom, Minister of Labour of Thailand and Mr. Shinichi Hasegawa, ILO Regional Director forAsiaand the Pacific.  About 60 delegates are expected to attend the four-day meeting representing Australia, Cambodia, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. 

The tripartite meeting – bringing together Governments, employers and workers – aims to help countries come up with clear and focused national occupational safety and health (OSH) programmes, and strengthen their national occupational safety and health systems.

Delegates will also share their practical experiences in working to improve safety and health.

Currently only four of the countries attending (Australia,Japan,MongoliaandThailand) have completed nationalOSHprogrammes.

The ILO estimates that more than two million workers worldwide lose their lives due to occupational-related diseases and accidents every year.  There are more than 250 million accidents and more than 160 million workers fall ill each year due to workplace hazards. 

In 2003 1 the ILO adopted a new global strategy on occupational safety and health (OSH) and the setting up of nationalOSHprogrammes is a key part of this new strategy.  The ILO has been supporting member countries inAsiaand the Pacific to develop nationalOSHprogrammes.

“Safety and health is an issue for everyone. Effective National OSH Programmes will support employers’ and workers’ in their day-to-day improvement efforts.” said Mr Hasegawa,. “Good safety and health practices are an asset, not a cost. Improving workplace safety and health is an important part of building an efficient, skilled economy and improving quality of life”.

The conference is being organized by the ILO in collaboration with the Thai Ministry of Labour. It will be held at the Amari Watergate Hotel, Pratunam,Bangkok.

The media is invited to cover the inaugural session and speeches at 9-10am Monday 16 May.  Individual interviews can be arranged on request. Please contact Sophy Fisher (fisher@ilo.org. 02 288 2482) for more information.

1 At the 91st Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC)