Occupational health

Global strategy on occupational health for all: The way to health at work

Recommendation of the second meeting of the WHO Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health, 11-14 October 1994, Beijing, China

ISBN 95 l-802-07 1-X
© World Health Organization 1995

Global strategy for occupational health for all cover


This document has been developed according to the guidance and contributions of the Planning Group of the WHO Collaborating Centres’ Network, WHO Workers’ Health Programme and the Second Meeting of the WHO Collaborating Centres in occupational Health. The Document was drafted for the WHO Collaborating Centres’ Network by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (drafted by Professor Jorma Rantanen with editorial support from Ms. Suvi Lehtinen and technical assistance from Ms. Raija Salmenius).

The WHO policy has, since the foundation of the Organization, included elements for occupational health. Numerous key documents of WHO, the Constitution, Alma Ata Declaration, Health for All Strategy, the General Programmes of Work and several resolutions of the World Health Assembly have emphasized the need to protect and promote health and safety at work by preventing and controlling of hazards in the work environment and by promoting health and the work capacity of working people.

Facing the numerous problems of occupational health and safety and looking at the new developments and trends in the global working life, the two Meetings of the Network of WHO Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health, covering 52 research and expert institutions from 35 countries, have discussed the need for a new Global Strategy in Occupational Health. Such a Strategy should benchmark the priority actions for giving an effective response to the new occupational health needs in the rapidly changing working life and also address to the great differences in the working conditions and occupational health in countries at different stages of development.

The present document analyses the current situation and new needs of occupational health in different parts of the world, and proposes policy principles, 10 objectives and international and national actions for further improvement of occupational health.

The main emphasis is given to the preparation of new occupational health policies, development and strengthening of the necessary infrastructures, information systems and awareness of the needs and possibilities of occupational health activities, development of occupational health services for all working people, and building up the necessary sup-port services and human resources needed for implementing the new Strategy. Much emphasis is given to collaboration within the WHO between the various International Organizations and Nongovernmental Organizations and between various disciplines relevant to occupational health. The necessity to develop collaboration and multidisciplinary approach, in occupational health practice at national and local levels is also considered.

The Second Meeting of the Network of Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health recommended that this Document be submitted for consideration by the WHO and it is proposed to be converted into the WHO Global Strategy on Occupational Health for All (The way to health at work).

It is the intention of the Network of the WHO Collaborating Centres in Occupational Health that this document stimulates discussions on needs and objectives for further development of occupational health and encourages policy and practical actions which are necessary to meet the challenges of occupational health in the modern working life.