Labour Rights

Absence of systems to detect, avoid and respond to occupational risks


Everyone has the right to enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work, including a safe and secure working environment.


Occupational risks are any potential hazards that may arise in the workplace and lead to a worker sustaining physical or mental injury or illness such as disease, tumours, disability, reproductive health risks or death. Both women and men may be exposed to reproductive health risks from exposure to toxic substances.


It is essential that employers comply with national requirements for occupational health and safety, and institute adequate safety systems and equipment to detect, avoid and respond to occupational hazards that may include physical, chemical, biological or psychosocial hazards. Businesses need to undertake a risk assessment to identify the particular occupational risks associated with their operations and implement strategies to mitigate those risks. Mitigation strategies include the development, implementation and provision of training with respect to safety protocols and standard operating procedures (SOPs) and the provision of adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).


Business enterprises should conduct due diligence to identify the primary occupational risks to which their workers, and workers in their supply chains, may be exposed, and to implement risk mitigation practices and solutions accordingly. Such measures may also have the added benefit of improving productivity, reducing insurance rates and lowering the total cost of operations for the business.

Relevant Human Rights Instruments

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, Article 23
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966, Article 7
Convention concerning Occupational Safety and Health and the Working Environment, 1981 (No. 155)
Declaration on Occupational Health For All, 1994



SDG 8.8

Businesses that uphold workplace safety promote SDG 8.8: Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.