Workers' health surveillance (adapted from the ILO Technical and ethical guidelines for workers' health surveillance, 1998)

Author:International Labour Organization
Annex II
Workers’ health surveillance
(adapted from the ILO Technical and ethical guidelines
for workers’ health surveillance, 1998)
1. General principles
1.1. Competent authorities should ensure that laws and regulations governing workers’ health
surveillance are properly applied.
1.2. Workers’ health surveillance should be carried out in consultation with workers and/or
their representatives:
(a) with the central purpose of primary prevention of occupational and work-related injuries and
(b) under controlled conditions and within an organized framework, as may be prescribed by
national laws and regulations and in accordance with the Occupational Health Services
Convention, 1985 (No. 161), and Recommendation, 1985 (No. 171), and the ILO Technical
and ethical guidelines for workers’ health surveillance, Occupational Safety and Health
Series, No. 72 (Geneva, 1998).
2. Organization
2.1. The organization of workers’ health surveillance at different levels (national, industry,
enterprise) should take into account:
(a) the need for a thorough investigation of all work-related factors and the nature of occupational
hazards and risks in the workplace which may affect workers’ health;
(b) the health requirements of the work and the health status of the working population;
(c) the relevant laws and regulations and the available resources;
(d) the awareness of workers and employers of the functions and purposes of such surveillance;
(e) the fact that surveillance is not a substitute for monitoring and control of the working
2.2. In accordance with the needs and available resources, workers’ health surveillance should
be carried out at national, industry, enterprise and/or other appropriate levels. Provided that
surveillance is carried out or supervised by qualified occupational health professionals, as
prescribed by national laws and regulations, it can be undertaken by:
(a) occupational health services established in a variety of settings, e.g. within one enterprise or
among enterprises;
(b) occupational health consultants;
(c) the occupational and/or public health facilities available in the community where the
enterprise is located;
(d) social security institutions;
(e) worker-run centres;
(f) contracted professional institutions or other bodies authorized by the competent authority;
(g) a combination of any of the above.
2.3. A comprehensive system of workers’ health surveillance should:
(a) include individual and collective health assessments, occupational injury and disease
recording and notification, sentinel event notification, surveys, investigations and inspections;

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