OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH PROGRAMMES
IN SOME COUNTRIES IN ASIA
-AN ILO EXPERIENCE-
Occupational Safety and Health Specialist
ILO East Asia Multidisciplinary Advisory Team
International Labour Office
Participatory, action-oriented support programmes are increasingly, playing vital roles in promotingsafety and health in the Asia and Pacific Region. ILO’s WISE (Work Improvement in Small Enterprises) programmes provides a typical example. The newly-adopted ILO Guidelines on Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems (ILO-OSH 2001) are increasingly applied as a powerful tool to strengthen action-oriented support at both policy and workplace levels. Relevant ILO standards including theOccupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155) and the Occupational Health Service Convention, 1985 (No. 161) have shown clear directions towards ensuring safer and healthier work environments. Responding to local immediate needs, there were significant achievements in action-oriented support programmes in the region. Such achievements include development of local best practices, integrationof the action-oriented programmes into government policies, and network support through employers’ and workers’ organizations. Participatory, action-oriented training tools such as action-checklists, local good example photos, and group work methods have played key roles in the effective implementation of the action-oriented support even to hard-to-reach workers such as home-based workers, ruralworkers and ethnic minorities. The successful programmes commonly focused on local initiatives and were built on local wisdom and resources.
I. PARTICIPATORY, ACTION-ORIENTED SUPPORT APPLIED IN THE WISE PROGRAMME
Participatory, action-oriented support has been assisting many workplaces in the Asia and Pacific Region in implementing the occupational safety and health programmes suited tolocal immediate needs. Participatory, action-oriented support has mobilized locally available resources for risk-assessments and workplace improvements. ILO’s WISE (Work Improvement in Small Enterprises) programme presents a typical example.
The WISE (Work Improvement in Small Enterprises) project in the Philippines in 1994 - 1997, financially supported by the UNDP and technically assisted bythe ILO, produced participatory support tools such as action checklists, good example photo sets and group work methods. Many training workshops applying participatory support tools were carried out (Table 1). The WISE programme has promoted six basic principles to facilitate local participatory actions. They are: (1) Build on local practice, (2) Focus on achievements, (3) Link working conditionswith other management goals, (4) Use learning-by-doing, (5) Exchange experiences and (6) Promote workers’ involvement. Over 3,000 improvement examples in materials handling, work-station design, machine safety, control of hazardous substances, lighting, premises, welfare facilities and work organization were formulated by the participated Philippine small enterprises during the WISE project.Table 1. Support tools used in the WISE training
|Tools |Roles |
|Local good examples |Listing low-cost improvements in similar workplaces |
|Action checklists |Help participants identify availablesolutions |
|Simple improvement rules |Showing action guidance with available options |
|Group work dynamics |Prioritizing of feasible improvement actions |
II. RESEARCHING WORKERS IN THE RURAL AND INFORMAL SECTORS