C167 - Safety and Health in Construction Convention, 1988 (No. 167)


The General Conference of the International Labour Organisation,

Having been convened at Geneva by the Governing Body of the International Labour Office, and having met in its Seventy-fifth Session on 1 June 1988, and

Noting the relevant international labour Conventions and Recommendations and, in particular, the Safety Provisions (Building) Convention and Recommendation, 1937, the Co-operation in Accident Prevention (Building) Recommendation, 1937, the Radiation Protection Convention and Recommendation, 1960, the Guarding of Machinery Convention and Recommendation, 1963, the Maximum Weight Convention and Recommendation, 1967, the Occupational Cancer Convention and Recommendation, 1974, the Working Environment (Air Pollution, Noise and Vibration) Convention and Recommendation, 1977, the Occupational Safety and Health Convention and Recommendation, 1981, the Occupational Health Services Convention and Recommendation, 1985, the Asbestos Convention and Recommendation, 1986, and the list of occupational diseases as revised in 1980 appended to the Employment Injury Benefits Convention, 1964, and

Having decided upon the adoption of certain proposals with regard to safety and health in construction, which is the fourth item on the agenda of the session, and

Having determined that these proposals shall take the form of an international Convention revising the Safety Provisions (Building) Convention, 1937,

adopts this twentieth day of June of the year one thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight the following Convention, which may be cited as the Safety and Health in Construction Convention, 1988:

Article 1
  1. 1. This Convention applies to all construction activities, namely building, civil engineering, and erection and dismantling work, including any process, operation or transport on a construction site, from the preparation of the site to the completion of the project.
  2. 2. A Member ratifying this Convention may, after consultation with the most representative organisations of employers and workers concerned, where they exist, exclude from the application of the Convention, or certain provisions thereof, particular branches of economic activity or particular undertakings in respect of which special problems of a substantial nature arise, on condition that a safe and healthy working environment is maintained.
  3. 3. This Convention also applies to such self-employed persons as may be specified by national laws or regulations.
Article 2

For the purpose of this Convention:

  • (a) The term construction covers
    • (i) building, including excavation and the construction, structural alteration, renovation, repair, maintenance (including cleaning and painting) and demolition of all types of buildings or structures;
    • (ii) civil engineering, including excavation and the construction, structural alteration, repair, maintenance and demolition of, for example, airports, docks, harbours, inland waterways, dams, river and avalanche and sea defence works, roads and highways, railways, bridges, tunnels, viaducts and works related to the provision of services such as communications, drainage, sewerage, water and energy supplies;
    • (iii) the erection and dismantling of prefabricated buildings and structures, as well as the manufacturing of prefabricated elements on the construction site;
  • (b) the term construction site means any site at which any of the processes or operations described in subparagraph (a) above are carried on;
  • (c) the term workplace means all places where workers need to be or to go by reason of their work and which are under the control of an employer as defined in subparagraph (e) below;
  • (d) the term worker means any person engaged in construction;
  • (e) the term employer means
    • (i) any physical or legal person who employs one or more workers on a construction site; and
    • (ii) as the context requires, the principal contractor, the contractor or the subcontractor;
  • (f) the term competent person means a person possessing adequate qualifications, such as suitable training and sufficient knowledge, experience and skill for the safe performance of the specific work. The competent authorities may define appropriate criteria for the designation of such persons and may determine the duties to be assigned to them;
  • (g) the term scaffold means any temporary structure, fixed, suspended or mobile, and its supporting components which is used for supporting workers and materials or to gain access to any such structure, and which is not a "lifting appliance" as defined in subparagraph (h) below;
  • (h) the term lifting appliance means any stationary or mobile appliance used for raising or lowering persons or loads;
  • (i) the term lifting gear means any gear or tackle by means of which a load can be attached to a lifting appliance but which does not form an integral part of the appliance or load.
Article 3

The most representative organisations of employers and workers concerned shall be consulted on the measures to be taken to give effect to the provisions of this Convention.

Article 4

Each Member which ratifies this Convention undertakes that it will, on the basis of an assessment of the safety and health hazards involved, adopt and maintain in force laws or regulations which ensure the application of the provisions of the Convention.

Article 5
  1. 1. The laws and regulations adopted in pursuance of Article 4 above may provide for their practical application through technical standards or codes of practice, or by other appropriate methods consistent with national conditions and practice.
  2. 2. In giving effect to Article 4 above and to paragraph 1 of this Article, each Member shall have due regard to the relevant standards adopted by recognised international organisations in the field of standardisation.
Article 6

Measures shall be taken to ensure that there is co-operation between employers and workers, in accordance with arrangements to be defined by national laws or regulations, in order to promote safety and health at construction sites.

Article 7

National laws or regulations shall require that employers and self-employed persons have a duty to comply with the prescribed safety and health measures at the workplace.

Article 8
  1. 1. Whenever two or more employers undertake activities simultaneously at one construction site-
    • (a) the principal contractor, or other person or body with actual control over or primary responsibility for overall construction site activities, shall be responsible for co-ordinating the prescribed safety and health measures and, in so far as is compatible with national laws and regulations, for ensuring compliance with such measures;
    • (b) in so far as is compatible with national laws and regulations, where the principal contractor, or other person or body with actual control over or primary responsibility for overall construction site activities, is not present at the site, he shall nominate a competent person or body at the site with the authority and means necessary to ensure on his behalf co-ordination and compliance with the measures, as foreseen in subparagraph (a) above;
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