New agricultural sector OSH guide and training launched in Lebanon

The ILO “Occupational Safety and Health Guide in Agriculture” is set to increase OSH efficiency and boost the provision of safe workplaces to guarantee the workers’ health and the sector’s productivity

Press release | 17 May 2023
Beirut, Lebanon (ILO News) A four-day Training of Trainers (ToT) based on the new ILO “Occupational Safety and Health Guide in Agriculture” is set to provide participants in Lebanon with additional skills on ways to enhance OSH efficiency and encourage and facilitate the establishment of safe, healthy and productive workplaces for the country’s agricultural workers and business owners.

Around 25 participants, including representatives from the Labour and Agriculture Ministries, trade unions and employers’ representatives, and different partner agencies, attended the ToT course in Beirut.

“The ministry is committed to supporting all the initiatives aiming to the promotion of better working conditions and protection for all the workers,” said Ministry of Labour Acting General Director Marline Atallah. “Based on a study conducted by the Agricultural Ministry in 2010, 250,000 workers suffer from poor working conditions in the agricultural sector. Our role is to work with social partners and local and international agencies to guarantee safety and health across the sector. This training today is an important step in this direction.”

Ministry of Labour Acting General Director Marline Atallah
The guide, which made its debut this week, aims to serve as a practical instrument for future trainers, farmers and sectoral workers. Its recommendations ensue from an ILO-run assessment study conducted across the local agricultural sector on OSH implementation, awareness and knowledge among its actors. The guide is also meant to help trainees gain further understanding about international labour standards regulating the matter.

“Agriculture is one of the most hazardous sectors globally,” said ILO Labour Inspection and OSH Specialist Amin Al Wreidat. “Millions of people lose their lives every year due to the lack of awareness on occupational hazards and inadequate preventive and protective measures in this industry. Serious actions should be taken by all actors in Lebanon to promote OSH standards in agriculture. This includes the promotion of compliance with the relevant national legislation, and the ratification and implementation of the relevant international labour standards, especially the ILO conventions No. 184, on OSH in agriculture, and No. 129, on labour inspection in agriculture.”

ILO Labour Inspection and OSH Specialist Amin Al Wreidat

The workshop falls under the umbrella of the PROSPECTS Programme, a global partnership supported by the Government of the Netherlands on improving the prospects for forcibly displaced persons and host communities. Under ILO PROSPECTS in Lebanon, local entities and graduates from this week’s and future ToT programmes will instruct local farmers and agricultural workers on ways to improve OSH at the farm level using the new ILO guide.

“We are proud of launching the new Occupational Safety and Health Guide in Agriculture and its relative training for trainers with our partners in Lebanon’s today,” said ILO PROSPECTS Regional Chief Technical Adviser Shaza Al Jondi. “This guide builds on the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which include ‘a safe and healthy work environment’ among its core tenets. The guide is part of the broader efforts of the ILO Prospects programme to address decent work deficits and the widespread informality in the sector, enhance productivity and promote more and better jobs in agriculture in Lebanon amid the ongoing multi-faceted crisis. Facilitating the establishment of a safe, healthy and productive agricultural sector for all its workers is a must.”

ILO PROSPECTS Regional Chief Technical Adviser Shaza Al Jondi.
Through the training, attendees develop a robust understanding of the principles and basics of OSH and of its crucial role in improving business performance. Trainees eventually learn how to conduct risk assessments in local farms and to adapt the services included in the new guide based on the different scenarios they may encounter in the field.

“This training plays a very important role within the agricultural sector in Lebanon, where awareness is mostly lacking among farmers and farms concerning proper OSH measures,” said Khaled Al Omari, Head of Quality at the Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture Control Centre laboratories (QCC) in northern Lebanon and one of the trainees. “It is important for us, future trainees, to be coached on such pivotal issues to be able to clearly transfer this kind of knowledge to sectoral workers, eventually benefitting the population at large.”

Trainees also contributed to the validation of the guide’s technical content ahead of its adoption across the country.

On the last day of the training, attendees took part in a practical session in a local farm. Their final feedback on the guide and its coaching will eventually support the further enhancement of the training materials and its methodologies.