top of page

29 March


Occupational Safety and Health in
the Post COVID-19 World

dreamstimemaximum_181876098_Abdul Razak Abdul Latif_Migrant workers in Malaysia get COVID

The global pandemic of COVID-19 increased employers’ and workers’ attention to safety and health in the workplace for protecting workers’ rights and business continuity. Relevant national policy and strategies have been issued and implemented to tackle the pandemic. Despite significant challenges, many workplaces have stayed resilient and taken proactive steps in responding to the needs of business and human rights. Human-centred occupational safety and health (OSH) management systems with active worker participation have been pursued at.

ILO is now discussing if OSH should be added to Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW). This would provide an important implication onto Business and Human Rights, for example to buyers’ codes of conduct. In fact, many workers in South Asia still belong to the informal economy and the rural sector. They are often outside the scope of national OSH systems and receive limited OSH services and protection. It is important to discuss how the post-COVID-19 world can address the disproportionate progress in OSH and extend practical OSH measures as an integral part of FPRW to all economic sectors including disadvantageous groups of workers.

The proposed session on OSH aims to exchange experiences at both policy and workplace levels, discuss roles of ILO OSH standards and its interlinkages with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and promote practical OSH measures towards the post-Covid-19 world of work. The proper action taken will strengthen Business and Human Rights, while providing safe and healthy working environments to workers and increasing industrial production.

Session objectives:

  • To take stock of success stories and good practices made in South Asia on OSH towards to the post-COVID-19 world;

  • To identify the key challenges and opportunities in South Asia onOSH as an essential element of business and human rights agenda;

  • To enhance and apply the key ILO OSH standards, in particular Safety and Health Convention (No 155) and Promotional Framework for OSH Convention (No 187) for promoting strategic national policies and programmes in OSH;

  • To discuss what positive impacts will be made on business and human rights if OSH becomes part of FPRW;

  • To find measures of how to extend practical OSH support to all workers in the post-COVID-19 world, especially tosmall and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and informal economy workplaces.


Key questions to the discussion

  • What are the necessary and innovative measures for promoting OSH at the workplace in the post-COVID-19 world?

  • How can we better understand interlinkages between ILO OSH standards and the UNGPs to advance business respect for human rights in the post-COVID-19 world ?

  • What will be key implications to Business and Human Rights if OSH is added to FPRW?

  • How should national policies and programmes be promoted for providing effective OSH services to all economic sectors? What implication can national policies and programmes have on improving OSH in South Asia?

  • How can we extend OSH services to SMEs and informal economy workplaces and disadvantageous groups of workers such as women, migrants, and disabled workers?

Additional background documents (pdf format) or relevant links

  1. ILO: Improving Safety and Health in Micro-, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: An overview of initiatives and delivery mechanisms, 2020

  2. ILO Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155)

  3. ILO Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No. 187)

  4. ILO Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture Third Edition, 2018

  5. The Weakest Link in the Global Supply Chain : How the Pandemic is Affecting Bangladesh’s Garment Workers

bottom of page