International Labour Organization was established in 1919 with its headquarters in Geneva. It has about 155 member countries and offices and experts in many countries. The opening words of its constitution ‘Universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based on is social justice’ indicate its main object. The protection of the worker against ‘sickness, disease, and injury arising out of his employment’ is also one of the essential tasks of the ILO.

Standard-setting is the ILO’s oldest activity and it remains its fundamental task. Between 1919 and 2006, the ILO adopted 186 conventions and 195 recommendations. Out of these about 83 Conventions and 85 Recommendations relate directly or indirectly to safety, health and working environment. The ILO has published over 250 studies and publications dealing with safety and health. 

It carries out technical co-operation, international supervision, ensuring effective application, labor inspection, occupational health services, meetings, symposia, activities in the field of ergonomics, expert consultancy service, employment injury statistics, vocational rehabilitation, International Occupational Safety and Health Hazard Alert System and International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (CIS) for regular IL0 publication and computerized data etc.

The Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety (Fourth revised edition in 1998) contains four volumes. These volumes are the best guide on many matters of health and safety. Preparation of international standards for the protection of workers’ health is its main aim. Such standards, in the form of Conventions and Recommendations, include the subjects of accident prevention, labor occupational, occupational health diseases, maximum weight, electrical accidents etc.

Another major sector of ILO’s work consists in the provision of expert advice and technical assistance in matters connected with labor and social policy Assistance is provided under the United Nation programmes of technical co-operation as well as under the ILO’s regular budget. Much of this operational work lies in the fields of manpower

Training and utilization, improvement of work methods an organization, labor administration and tin development of effective systems of industrial relation and social security.

These activities are organized by the International Labor Office, and international staff ii Geneva with a field network in most parts of the tin world. The Office is also the permanent secretariat o the Organization and a clearinghouse for international information and research. It is headed by a Director-General appointed by a Governing Body of 2 government representatives, 12 representatives of management and 12 representatives of labor, which meets three times a year.

In addition to the above activities, matters of concern to particular region and industries an discussed periodically by special conferences and committees. Many specialized technical meetings are organized. An International Institute of Labor Studies set up by the Organization at Geneva; provide persons occupying positions of responsibility in tin different countries with opportunities for advanced study of labor policy questions. The main  ROLE OF ILO FOR SAFETY, HEALTH AND WELFARE can be broadly classified as under:

  1. Conventions and Recommendations.
  2. Standards and Codes of Practice.
  3. Exchange of technical information & Research
  4. Technical co-operation activities.

They are explained in brief below 

Conventions and Recommendations: 

Since its inception in 1919, the ILO has adopted over 300 international instruments ‘Conventions and Recommendations. A Convention is a legal document regulating some aspects of labor administration, social Welfare or human rights. A Convention creates binding obligations by virtue of its ratification by the member country concerned. A Recommendation is complementary to a Convention except that it is not subject to ratification. The very first Convention of the ILO, adopted in 1919, was on working hours in industry, the one, adapted in 1996 is on chemical safety and one adapted in 1993 is on major Industrial Accidents. It reflects the current practices and development in the field of safety.

These international agreements (Conventions) and recommendations relate to the basic rights of labor, employment and training, conditions of work, social security and protection at work and are the result of detailed discussion at the annual International Labor Conference, comprising four delegates (two representing Government, one representing management and one representing labor ) from each member country, Speaking and voting individually. The Conventions and Recommendations are not automatically binding, but governments must submit them to their national legislatures. Reports from the different governments on their implementation are examined annually by the Conference and there is also machinery for examination of complaints, including alleged violation of freedom of association.
Though due to socio-economic conditions in the country and the prevailing situation it has not been possible for our country to ratify all of these Conventions. Most of the requirements are met to some extent in organized sectors of our industries such as some big factories, mines and docks.

Some IL0 Conventions and Recommendations pertaining to Safety Health and Environment are given below:

ILO Conventions & Recommendations

Protection of workers Health97 (1953)
Marking of weight27 (1929) 
Protection against Accidents28 (1929), 32 (1932)33,34 (1929), 40 (1932)
Sheet Glass Works43 (1934) 
Underground work (Women)45 (1935) 
Safety Provisions (Buildings)62 (1937) Construction 167 (1988)53 to 56 (1937) 175 (1988)
Labour Inspection81 (1947) 129 (1969)5 (1919), 20 (1923), 28 (1926), 81,82 (1947), 133 (1969)
Labour Standards83 (1947) 
Labour Inspectorates85 (1947)59 (1939)
Radiation protection115 (1960)114 (1960)
Power-driven Machinery32 (1929)
Guarding of machinery119 (1963)118 (1963)
Hygiene (Commerce & Office)120 (1964)120 (1964)
Employment Injury Benefits121 (1964)121 (1964)
Maximum weight127 (1967)128 (1967)
Medical Care & sickness Benefits130 (1969)69 (1944), 76 (1946), 134 (1969)
Prevention of accident134 (1970)31 (1929), 142 (1970)
Benzene136 (1974)144 (1971)
Occupational Cancer139 (1974)147 (1974), 194 (2002) List of Occupational disease
Working Environment (Air pollution, Noise & Vibration)148 (1977)156 (1999)
Labour Administration150 (1978)158 (1978)
Occupational Safety & Health152 (1979), 155 (1981), 161 (1985)112 (1959), 164 (1981), 160 (1979), 171 (1985)
Labour Statistics160 (1985) 

Details of above convention and recommendations are available on

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