ILO and International StandardsAbbreviations:ILO – International Labour OrganizationOHS / OSH – Occupational Health and Safety / Occupational Safety and HealthOSHA – Occupational Safety and Health AdministrationGHS – Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of ChemicalsITC – International Training Centre (division of ILO)Convey detailed information about the International Labour Standardsfor Occupational Health and Safety. As paraphrased from the ILO website, the ILO originated with thesignatory nations of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Their stated primary goalis to “promote opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productivework, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.” From theirMission and Objectives page, “The International Labour Organization (ILO) isdevoted to promoting social justice and internationally recognized human andlabour rights, pursuing its founding mission that labour peace is essential toprosperity.” The ILO boasts of being the only tripartite UN agency. This means theyhave input from governments, select employers, and unions. The primarymeans of addressing Health and Safety and other issues are throughInternational Labor Standards. As stated on the ILO website, there is a process to the creation andadoption of International Labor Standards. When international issues arise, theILOs governing board will decide to present the issue at the International LaborConference. The International Labor Office performs an analysis of the currentlaws involving the current issue. To elicit comments and discussions of the issueat hand, this analysis is submitted to governments, member states, workers andemployers. The Office prepares a report of these comments and discussions,which are discussed at the International Labor Conference. Following the end ofthe conference, the Office prepares a secondary reports with draft instrumentsfor comments which is submitted for discussion at the next conference where thedraft is signaled for adoption. Primarily governments use International Labor Standards. Some stateschoose to ratify an ILO convention while others use the standards as guidelinesto establish their law. International standards can be used to shape differentpolicies; they can be used to shape local policies of family and employment.
Some examples of work ILO was or is a part of are the GHS, which largelyaccomplished what its full name spells out. Another example of ILO involvementis UNAIDS which holds some interesting positions. To promote their stances, the ILO has a training arm called theInternational Training Centre. For additional information, the Cornell University Law Library has a verygood and concise summary on the ILO.How is the goal of the International Standards for Health and Safetydifferent from OSHA? Per the OSHA website, OSH Act of 1970 was created in response to thenumerous work related injuries and illnesses. Under the Act, OSHA assures safeand descent working environment for workers of the states. The goal of ILOdiffers from that of OSHA in that ILO encourages the health and safety ofworkers globally. Per the ILO OSH website, Safe Work is the ILO Program onWork and Environment Safety and Health and its purpose is to bring globalawareness of the magnitude of the consequences of On-the-Job injuries andillnesses.The U.S. is a member of the global society and global economy. TheU.S. has extensive OSH laws. In your opinion, is there really a need tohave international standards? Do we need to participate? Explain.Analyn’s Pre-Info Gathering Response:Is there really a need to have international standards? Yes, but this must be exclusively done within the specific industries forquality settings. Going from a top-down governmental approach carries with itextensive problems and handicaps developing countries.Does the USA need to participate? No and yes. It is a violation of the sovereignty of the country if done inan official treaty level function. It is beneficial to share what expertise the USAhas and the unbiased data. Also, if the USAs standards are already high,participation in an official capacity outside of sharing of information is notneeded. It would be best if non-government industry specialists participated.
Emma’s Pre-Info Gathering Response:Is there really a need to have international standards? Yes. International standards are necessary for product comparison andallow fair and equal trade. Standards provide a quality mark that can facilitatethe development of many products and facilitate international trade becauserequirements for quality and safety of goods are the same. They ensure safety oftransported goods.Does the USA need to participate? Yes. Technology and other advancements are forever changing;participating will facilitate the updating process of products, machinery, andother goods, which is necessary to maintain quality and safety.Analyn’s Post-Info Gathering Response:Is there really a need to have international standards? I submit that I agree with International Standards from the basis ofcompeting in a global economy. Equal definition of terms such as the GHS is aneeded item but not for social justice. It is common sense to have universaldefinitions of chemicals. The topic of chemical classification does not carry withit charged points of view. They are what they are. When social justice gets inserted, it is attempting to project one set ofvalues forcibly onto other nations regardless of the views of their population andgovernment. For equality between governments, OSH standards should benormalized with the lead of the various industries and aided by governmentrecognition. Empower the individual countries to pursue industries that fit theirassets and abilities to support. A model of this was already done on the qualityside called 6 Sigma. To be brutally honest, the more I read about ILO and its goals, the more Ithought I was reading fiction based in a fantasy world. The ILO goals have nobasis in reality and depend on a global top-down structure system that next tonever works. I‟m not being cynical, but I‟ve seen what happens personally. Top-down government systems or solutions fail quickly for many reasons.
1) The national government is incompetent, corrupt, a dictatorship, or toothless. A large portion of the nations either cant or wont comply but will take the bribe to „agree‟ to the terms. 2) The reports given back to the ILO will be based on the findings of bribed regulators. This is just the standard method of operation in the Philippines and many other countries. Either the regulator pressures you for a bribe under threat of shutting you down or they are available to be bought for a price. 3) The ideal solution imposed on the country serves to make life more miserable and dangerous. When the Philippine government bowed to UN pressure to forbid capital punishment, crime, terrorism, and murder rates soared. Certain cities became safe again because of „vigilantes taking justice into their hands.‟ 4) The ideal solutions are ridiculously impossible to implement due to fiscal, geographic, and weather restrictions and the reservations of the populace of the government. From the perspective of the Philippines, the people are very hesitant to accept changes from the UN or other foreign entities for a sound reason. They were invaded, occupied, murdered, and raped by Spain (333 years) and Japan (WWII). The people view the suggestions with great suspicion. The government has many reasons to fear the people. As such, what is officially passed is rarely acted on, as enforcement is unrealistic. 5) Localized details (national level in this case) never fit a one-size-fits-all solution. What may work in the USA may not work in Chili, the Philippines, or Madagascar. This is a core reason why costs skyrocket, as every detail cannot possibly be included in an overarching plan. If OSH standards are driven by Industry norms, irrespective of value sets (UNAIDS), then the people are far more prone to support it. It would be the rules ofcompeting in a given industry on the global marketplace. The top-down ILOstructure basically keeps the poor countries poor and dependent. Additionally, going through an industry norm basis gives a much strongercheck and balance to a plan. The regulator from within the industry can getfired much easier than if they were employed by the government.Does the USA need to participate? Yes. We are living in a global economy. Certain aspects do need acommon base of expectations and definitions so all are on the same page. TheUSA can share information and stay on top of information as it may impact thecountry. I do strongly disagree with the ILO format though. Industry focusedsubsections are a must. Government should serve as a facilitator and not acontroller.Emma’s Post-Info Gathering Response:Is there really a need to have international standards?
International Standards, as previously mentioned, are necessary to maintaincompetitive markets as well as safety and quality of transported goods. Whenone thinks about the healthcare field, its medical supplies and equipments,International Standards are a must. They ensure the quality and safety of suchequipments to properly cater to patient‟s needs. International standards are beneficial to different aspect of society. It isbeneficial to consumers because the confidence level in the products, goods, andservices is elevated and a greater variety of offers is available as well. Accordingto IDS article, International standards are also beneficial to governmentsbecause they can serve as a guide for policy making in matters of safety andhealth (3). One example in which International standards have been successful isfound on ILO website. It is in the prevention of product poisoning relatedaccidents among children. International standards worked to implement childsafety caps for chemical fluids and other hazardous materials that can beharmful to children. Another example was food safety management. Standardsrequire that organizations prove that food is safe at the time of consumption (4). Standards are adopted based on current international issues but adoptingor implementing these standards does not guarantee change so this could pose achallenge for certain organizations and governments. ISO does aim to provideworldwide safety of different aspect of life but as any organization, it is animperfect one.Does the USA need to participate?The US has been heavily involved with ISO from the start. They both share thesame goals to encourage and maintain human rights in every aspect of life butespecially in working conditions. According to ISO.org, They both made acommitment to bring respect for democratic principles. Technology and other advancements are forever changing; the US participationwill facilitate the updating process of products, machinery, and other goodswhich is necessary to maintain quality, safety, and fair and efficient trade.
References1. http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/mission-and-objectives/lang--en/index.htm2. http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=OSHACT&p_id= 27433. International Dental Standards. Dental Material Journal 2009; 28(1): 57-61.4. http://www.iso.org/sites/ConsumersStandards/en/2-3-examples-international.htm#4