OSH legislation

ILO develops global database on national OSH legislation to support the improvement of national systems and programmes

Legislation on occupational safety and health (OSH) is an essential component of national systems and programmes aiming at protecting the health and safety of workers. The ILO, in its efforts to support the development of national OSH systems, has developed and launched LEGOSH, an innovative database to collect, analyse, describe and share essential knowledge on OSH legislation and policy around the world.

Article | 06 June 2014
LEGOSH is the first global source of authoritative information on national OSH legislation. It aims to assist governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, OSH agencies and experts, policy-makers and legislators to understand, shape, formulate and adopt sound OSH legislation that can be applied effectively to protect the safety and health of workers. It acts as a free source of trustworthy legal information available to constituents, researchers, and other stakeholders.

The database has a user-friendly interface which allows users to:
  • Access summaries of OSH legislation in English and authentic legal texts in their original language;
  • Compare the legislation of several countries or regions on a particular subject;
  • Conduct customized searches;
  • Link to national and regional OSH institutions’ websites, OSH databases and other relevant sources of OSH legislation, policies and information;
  • Consult the relevant comments of the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR).
OSH legislation is often described as a complex mosaic of legal provisions found primarily in labour law, public health and industry specific legislation. It specifies a range of rights, obligations and duties applicable to workers and employers; it defines the roles and responsibilities of ministries and institutions; and it establishes technical requirements that are aiming altogether at preventing occupational accidents and diseases. This complexity makes relevant legislation sometimes difficult to locate, access and interpret for making educated decisions.

The development of the LEGOSH platform came out of this need and began with formulating a set of descriptors for collecting data on the basis of relevant ILO standards: the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155); the Occupational Health Services Convention, 1985 (No. 161); the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No. 187); and the Labour Inspection Convention, 1947 (No. 81). These instruments are outlining the main provisions expected to be found in OSH legislation.

Independent experts in OSH legislation from various countries then reviewed and pilot-tested the template to collect data and provided methodological insights. They later participated in a peer-review meeting with ILO specialists to discuss and adjust the structure and wording of the initial set of descriptors in order to ensure comprehensiveness, coherence and consistency.

The second phase of the database development consisted in developing an IT application to enable OSH experts from all over the world to input data remotely, and to provide the ILO with a mechanism to conduct quality control, validation and approval of the collected data. The aim was to ensure its accuracy and offer users a friendly interface allowing for a number of functionalities.

Finally, options for participatory data collection, review and update that are building on the ILO worldwide field structure and international networks, as well as on the knowledge of national experts, were tested with the aim of ensuring adequacy and relevancy of content while establishing the conditions for its sustainability. The result is that LEGOSH provides authoritative information on OSH legislation to support policy development and improve national systems and programmes.