Convention 155 and World Day for Safety and Health at Work

C155 – Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155)

Governments, employers and workers all have an interest in safe and healthy workplaces. It offers a sound basis for successful social dialogue and consensus building.
Tarja Halonen
People are at the centre of sustainable development, and health is at the centre of human development and prosperity.
Gro Harlem Brundtland

The ILO Constitution sets forth the principle that workers should be protected from sickness, disease and injury arising from their employment. Yet for millions of workers the reality is very different. According to ILO estimates, every year 2.34 million people die due to occupational fatalities, 2.02 million of which result from work-related diseases, equivalent to 5,500 deaths every day. This causes huge suffering for workers and their families and serious economic losses for economies and societies. Many of these tragedies are preventable through the implementation of sound preventive measures, information and training, adequate inspection and the commitment of governments, employers and workers to occupational safety and health.

Recognizing the significance of the issue, the ILO has adopted more than 40 standards specifically dealing with occupational safety and health, as well as over 40 Codes of Practice. Nearly half of all ILO instruments deal directly or indirectly with these issues. ILO standards on occupational safety and health provide fundamental principles and essential tools for governments, employers, and workers to establish such practices and to provide for safety and health at work. The following three conventions define the fundamental principles of occupational safety and health: Convention No. 155, Convention No. 161 and Convention No. 187.

Convention No. 155 on Occupational Safety and Health provides for the adoption of a coherent national occupational safety and health policy, as well as action to be taken by governments and within enterprises to promote occupational safety and health to improve working conditions.

Convention No. 155 entered into force on 11 August 1983 and has been ratified by 60 countries to date.

World Day for Safety and Health at Work, 28 April
The World Day for Safety and Health at Work, observed annually on 28 April, promotes safe, healthy and decent work. It is an awareness-raising campaign intended to focus international attention on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and deaths and on promoting and creating a safety and health preventative culture for effective action in the safety and health field. Since 1996, 28 April has been associated with the international trade union movement's commemoration of the victims of occupational accidents and diseases as Workers Memorial Day. In 2001, the ILO became involved and in 2003 designated the World Day for Safety and Health at Work as an official day for a global campaign recognizing it as both a commemoration and a celebration. While honouring injured and fallen workers, the ILO appreciates and celebrates that occupational injuries, diseases and fatalities can be prevented with the joint efforts of governments, employers and workers.

According to ILO estimates, 2.34 million workers die each year due to injuries and work-related diseases; 2.02 million of these deaths are due to work-related diseases. To raise awareness on the magnitude of this invisible epidemic, the 2013 World Day for Safety and Health focuses on the prevention of occupational diseases. As every year, the ILO Programme on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment has prepared a report to serve as a background to the theme.

Related ILO Conventions

Related ILO Recommendations