|Towards Good Practice in Health, Environment and Safety Management in Industrial and other Enterprises (WHO, 1999, 13 pages)|
1. Major changes in the global economy and the revolutionary restructuring of production and service organizations, coupled with the subsequent changes in working life and in the responsibilities of employees, have created an urgent need to strengthen and adapt the tools and methods used to ensure that health, environment and safety (HES) are protected and promoted at the enterprise level. This can be achieved by implementing the principles and mechanisms contained in the following international statements:
· Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992);
· the Helsinki Declaration on Action for Environment and Health in Europe (1994) with corresponding national environmental health action plans (NEHAPs);
· the World Health Declaration (1998) and HEALTH21 - the Health for All policy framework for the WHO European Region - 21 targets for the 21st century (1998);
· the European Union programmes on environment and on health and safety at work (1996 - 2000);
· the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions, recommendations and resolutions on occupational safety and health with relevance to environmental management;
· the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters and other documents referring to environment management in enterprises, adopted by the Fourth "Environment for Europe" Conference held in 1998 in Århus, Denmark; and
· the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) International Declaration on Cleaner Production (1998).
2. In addition, the good practice of leading enterprises that are increasingly integrating health, environment and safety management (HESM) into their overall management systems gives hope that the wider adoption of this approach will counter several negative trends set out below.
3. Both enterprises and the national economy in all WHO Member States carry a significant economic and social burden caused by accidents, injuries, and occupational, work-related and workplace-preventable but non-occupational diseases. Economic loss from occupational accidents alone in some European countries has been calculated at 3-5% of gross national product. Occupational and non-occupational diseases and injuries are responsible for much of the current levels of reduced work capacity, increased temporary and permanent work disability, shortened life expectancy, and premature retirement or death. The high rate and early onset of chronic diseases contribute to the high expenditure of national health care systems, as well as to high demands for disability pensions and compensation from social insurance funds. In addition industrial and other enterprises that lack adequate prevention and control measures contribute to environmental pollution and pose health risks to the population.
4. Unacceptable inquiries exist in HES conditions and management between and within the countries of the European Region of WHO.
5. The enforcement of HES legislation is becoming more difficult, in part because of the growing number of small and medium-sized enterprises. The direct and active involvement of enterprises in demonstrating and proving good practice in HESM (GPHESM) would be a valuable supplementary measure to improve compliance with HES legislation. Additionally, GPHESM which goes beyond mandatory requirements should allow enterprises to achieve HES targets set voluntarily by the working communities, as part of self-regulation.