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Workplace safety

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International Minimum Requirements for Health Protection in the Workplace

This report provides an analysis of the current spectrum of global, regional and national norms including conventions, standards, directives, regulations, guides, and codes directly relating to protecting health in the workplace. It identifies gaps in what is currently available and makes recommendations for improvements. Consideration has been given to exposure to hazardous substances, noise and vibration, radiation, musculoskeletal and psychosocial risks, as well as general workplace and welfare issues such as lighting, thermal comfort, drinking water and sanitation, first aid and health surveillance.

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A core function of the World Health Organization (WHO) is to set health-based norms and standards and to promote their implementation. WHO has adopted internationally recognized methods for guideline development to ensure a clear, transparent and unbiased process for comprehensive and objective assessment of the available evidence and international consensus on recommendations to meet global public health needs.

The 60th World Health Assembly in 2007 requested that WHO should develop a set of minimum requirements for health protection, applicable to all workplaces in big and small enterprises whether in formal or informal work settings. Such standards are voluntary and are there to guide governments in developing their own national regulations and norms.