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close this bookDeclaration on Occupational Health for All (WHO, 1994, 4 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPreamble
View the documentHealth at work - a priority issue
View the documentWay to a new healthy working life

Way to a new healthy working life

Health and safety at work are important matters that relate to the general health and well-being of working people and that should be given due consideration in policies at all levels (i.e. company, national and international). Health and safety problems at, work are, in principle, preventable and should be prevented by using all available tools-legislative, technical, research, training and education, information, and economic instruments.

Governments are encouraged to prepare a special national policy and programme for occupational health that include actions for providing competent occupational health services for all people at. work. Such a programme should include the development of appropriate legal provisions, and systems for enforcement, and inspections by competent authorities specially responsible for occupational health.

Governments should ensure the development of necessary infrastructures for effective implementation of occupational health programmes, including occupational health services, research programmes, training and education, information services and data banks. Networking of such infrastructures within and among the countries would substantially facilitate their efforts to implement national programmes.

It is a realistic long-term objective to organize well functioning and competent occupational health services for all workers to en-sure healthy and safe workplaces as well as the required services for each individual worker. In order to be comprehensive such an occupational health service should include first of all a multidisciplinaly preventive element, including surveillance of the work environment and health of workers and, where appropriate, relevant curative and health promotion elements.

The focal point for practical occupational health activities is the workplace. Employers are responsible for planning and designing a safe and healthy work, workplace, work environment and work organization, as well as for maintaining and constantly improving health and safety at work.

Workers in many countries are trained in occupational safely and health. They have the right, to know the potential hazards and risks in their work and workplace, and they should, through appropriate mechanisms, participate in planning and decision-making concerning occupational health and other aspects of their own work, safety and health.

Workers should be empowered 10 improve working conditions by their own action, should be provided information and education, and should be given all the information, in order to produce an effective occupational health response through their participation.

Workers with individual susceptibilities, handicaps and other characteristics affecting their working capacity have a right, to job adaptation that fits the work to the worker

In order to provide necessary expert support to such workplace-level activities, expert communities, appropriate professional bodies and other nongovernmental organizations are encouraged to participate in and give support to occupational health activities at all levels, including the workplace.

Necessary action should be taken to ensure and enable appropriate collaborative links between occupational health and other associated activities, such as occupational safety, environmental health, environmental protection, primary and specialized health services, and social security.

WHO should consider giving higher priority and better visibility to its policies and programmes for occupational health. In so doing, WHO should give a full consideration to the fact that workers are a key target population for health policies at both international and national levels. Giving priority to occupational health will be a move towards a healthy working life and thereby to healthy socio-economic development. As an organization committed to the protection of people’s health, WHO and its Office of Occupational Health should take the leading role in the global development of occupational health in general and occupational health services in particular.

Collaboration of the WHO Workers’ Health Programme with other relevant programmes of WHO and with other international intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations should be ensured.

The Second Meeting of the WHO Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health (currently a network of 52 institutions), by adopting this Declaration, wishes to encourage Member States and WHO to further develop their occupational health programmes.

The meeting recommends that the proposal for the WHO Global Strategy on ‘Occupational Health for All’ that, was adopted by the Meeting, should be presented to the Executive Board and further to the World Health Assembly. The strategy should thereafter be used as the basis for the development of occupational health activities within the framework of the WHO General Programme of Work. The collaborating centres commit themselves to give all 6 support within their possibilities to the implementation of the strategy at international, national and local levels.

Authorized by the Second Meeting of the WHO Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health, WC Chairpersons of the meeting and the Planning Group of the Collaborating Centres’ Network sign this Declaration.

Beijing, 13 October 1994

Professor Jorma
Director General
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health,

Professor HE
Honorary director
Institute of Occupational
Medicine, China
Vice Chairperson of the Meeting

Dr. Richard A. Lemen
Deputy Director
National Institute for
Occupational Safety and Health. USA

Professor Nikolai F. Izmerov
Institute of Occupational Health,
Russian Federation

Chairperson of the
Organizing Committee