Labour inspection systems, policies and methods

Labour inspection is a public function and is at the core of effective labour law with wide powers and functions, including enforcement and sanctions that should be sufficiently dissuasive to deter violations of labour legislation while also providing corrective, developmental and technical advice, guidance, prevention tools and promoting workplace best practices. These functions should be regulated and balanced as part of a comprehensive compliance strategy in order to ensure decent working conditions and a safe working environment.

Labour inspection systems, particularly those in developing countries, face numerous challenges that are common to labour administrations as a whole, including the need for increased financial resources, more duly qualified inspectors, better equipment and better training, and improved recruitment procedures.

Promoting and enforcing decent working conditions, safety and health standards and respect for fundamental principles and rights at work are at the core of labour inspection activities.

Technical tools

  1. A Guide to Selected Labour Inspection Systems (with special reference to OSH)

    This “Guide to Selected Labour Inspection Systems” is part of a research programme in the area of labour administration and labour inspection carried out by the ILO Labour Inspection and Administration Programme (LAB/ADMIN) with a view to better understanding the functioning of the various systems in the world.

  2. Labour inspection sanctions

    Law and practice of national labour inspection systems

    During the general discussion on labour administration and labour inspection at the 100th Session of the International Labour Conference in June 2011, delegates pointed out that labour inspection cannot be fully understood without considering the procedures for imposing sanctions or penalties. These procedures are necessary as a remedy for violations, while also acting as deterrent

  3. Study on Labour Inspection Sanctions and Remedies

    The case of the United Kingdom

    This report describes the main features of the UK legal system for enforcement of labour standards, with a focus on the key strategies and sanctions available to government agencies responsible for oversight and enforcement of minimum employment standards and occupational health and safety.

  4. Technical Memorandum

    The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

    The purpose of the audit was to establish, jointly with the Government, an action plan for improving, reinvigorating and modernizing the labour inspection system in the country, within the framework of the already-ratified labour inspection Conventions.

  5. Labour administration

    To ensure good governance through legal compliance in Latin America. The central role of labour inspection.

    This study examines the role of labour inspection in Latin America, where there is a shared history and language, as well as similar developments and common ideas on labour administration. This makes the subject amenable to a comparative approach. Within this regional context, this study examines the different characteristics of labour inspection at national level, as well as other elements common to all civil law systems.

  6. Labour inspection in Arab states

    Progress and challenges

    This is a comparative overview of labour inspection systems in selected Arab countries. It compiles available information on practices and areas of progress. It also highlights major knowledge gaps and areas where improvement is needed in ensuring effective and modern labour administration and inspection systems.

  7. Technical Memorandum


    The purpose of the audit was to establish jointly with the government an action plan for improving, reinvigorating and modernizing the labour inspection system in Albania, within the framework of the already-ratified labour inspection Conventions.