WHO–ILO Global Framework for National Occupational Health Programmes for Health Workers

Published in 309th Session of ILO Governing Body (2010), the sectoral dimension of the ILO’s work: Review of sectoral initiatives on HIV and AIDS (document GB.309/STM/1/2, appendix II.)

The purpose of this Global Framework for National Occupational Health Programmes for Health Workers, as directed by the WHO Global Plan of Action (GPA) on Workers’ Health (2008–17) and consistent with the ILO Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No. 187), is to strengthen health systems and the design of health-care settings with the goal of improving health worker health and safety, patient safety and quality of patient care, and ultimately support a healthy and sustainable community with links to Greening Health Sector and Green Jobs initiatives.

The Ministry of Health will need to consult and work together with other relevant Ministries on the development of the National Occupational Health Programme for Health Workers such as the Ministry of Labour, Social Security, and/or other organization(s) responsible for the protection and promotion of health worker health and safety in the private as well as public sector. 

  1. Identify a responsible person with authority for occupational health at both the national and workplace levels.
  2. Develop a written policy on safety, health and working conditions for health workforce protection at the national and workplace levels.
  3. Ensure access to Occupational Health Services by strengthening existing or establishing new occupational health programmes and allocate sufficient resources/budget to the programme, occupational health professional services, and the procurement of the necessary personal protective equipment and supplies.
  4. Create joint labour–management health and safety committees, with appropriate worker and management representation.
  5. Provide ongoing (or periodic) education and training that is appropriate to all parties, including occupational health practitioners, senior executives, front-line managers, health and safety committees, front-line workers and their representatives, and the general public.
  6. Identify hazards and hazardous working conditions in order to prevent and control them and manage risks by applying the occupational health hierarchy of controls, which prioritizes elimination or control at the source.
  7. Provide pre-service and ongoing immunization against hepatitis B and other vaccine preventable diseases in the workplace at no cost to the employee and ensure all three doses of the hepatitis B immunization have been received by all workers at risk of blood exposure (including cleaners and waste handlers).
  8. Promote exposure and incident reporting, eliminating barriers to reporting and providing a blame-free environment.
  9. Promote and ensure health worker access to diagnosis, treatment, care and support for HIV, TB and hepatitis B and C viruses.
  10. Utilize appropriate information systems to assist in the collection, tracking, analysing, reporting and acting upon data to promote health and safety of the health-care workplace and health workforce
  11. Ensure that health workers are provided with entitlement for compensation for work-related disability in accordance with national laws.
  12. Promote research on OHS issues of concern to health workers and translation of research into practice, particularly with respect to combined exposures and applied intervention effectiveness research.
  13. Promote and implement Greening Health Sector initiatives that incorporate occupational health, green and safe jobs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions with a preference for: use of renewable energy; providing safe drinking water; promoting hand hygiene; active transport; environmentally preferable management of hazardous health care waste; and environmentally preferable selection and disposal of chemicals such as pesticides, disinfectants, and sterilants.


Review of sectoral initiatives on HIV and AIDS (document GB.309/STM/1/2, appendix II.) is available here:—ed_norm/—relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_145837.pdf

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