|Your Health and Safety at Work: A Collection of Modules - Aids and the Workplace (ILO, 1996, 84 p.)|
Imperfect as is the world in which we live, some accidents are doubtless inevitable, but so many others need not occur. In the workplace, in particular, no occupational injuries must occur. If this vision belongs to an ideal world, as some would say, a more realistic aim would at least be to reduce drastically the number of occupational accidents. Such, at least, is the sole intention of the Bureau for Workers' Activities in proposing this collection of modules, specially produced for the use of trade unions in their educational activities organized around the area of occupational safety and health.
During the years of gestation which preceded the establishment of the ILO in 1919, the first two international conventions were adopted by the International Association for Labour Legislation in Berne in 1905: one prohibiting the use of white phosphorus in the production of matches, and another regulating night work by women. Since its creation in 1919, the ILO has adopted some 32 Conventions and 35 Recommendations concerning exclusively workers' health and safety, all laying down minimum standards. Immense effort and resolute purpose on the part of the ILO's constituents to protect workers' health and safety have borne fruit in the form of these standards, but the chasms still yawn wide between, in the first instance, their adoption and ratification, and, in the second, their ratification and implementation. It is to be hoped that this collection of 12 modules on health and safety will find its place in an overall international thrust to arrest the high incidence of occupational accidents and diseases. Targets must be set, health and safety practices systematically monitored, and labour inspection must be rendered more effective. If this collection comes close to satisfying these aims, then these modules would have abundantly served their purpose.
Pedagogically, all twelve modules are of equal importance. There is no established sequence to follow: a course could be organized using either a single module, several, or all. This approach obeys the basic principle of modular teaching: that the materials could be adapted to the time available and the circumstances.
I particularly wish to thank the author of the collection, our colleague Ellen Rosskam, as well as Alan Le Serve, formerly attached to the Bureau for Workers' Activities, under whose technical guidance the modules were produced. I also extend thanks to all the international trade union organizations and national centres that reviewed the provisional edition and field-tested it. I am pleased to announce that the French and Spanish editions are forthcoming. It is my wish that this modest effort will help to alleviate the human anguish and suffering caused by thoughtless accidents and sloppy workplace habits. Above all, these modules should help to draw the attention of all those responsible to the extent of the problem of occupational hazards and provide practical guidelines which they could apply.
ILO Bureau for Workers' Activities