2023 Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Campaign

Changhee LEE's message for Occupational Safety and Health Month in Mongolia 2023

In his opening remarks for Occupational Safety and Health Month, Mr. Changhee Lee, the ILO Country Director for China and Mongolia, emphasizes the ILO's commitment to promoting occupational safety and health in Mongolia and highlights the collaborative efforts between the ILO and Mongolia in developing a National OSH Action Programme.

Statement | Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia | 05 April 2023
Changhee Lee, Country Director for China and Mongolia. © ILO
Today marks the beginning of the annual campaign for occupational safety and health month in Mongolia, initiated by the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection in 2012. For the past 10 years, this campaign has been implemented every year to raise awareness and promote the occupational safety and health.

Around 2.9 million workers die every year due to occupational accidents and diseases, and at least 402 million people suffer from non-fatal occupational injuries. Not only do occupational injuries and illness cause immeasurable human suffering to victims and their families, they also entail major economic losses for enterprises and economies as a whole. It is estimated that occupational accidents and diseases lead to a 5.4 per cent loss of annual global GDP. It is tragic loss of lives of workers, with great sorrow and hardship for their families. It is also loss of economic progress as well. We should do something about it to change the situation for safer and healthier workplaces.

That is why last year the International Labour Conference (ILC), adopted a resolution to include a safe and healthy working environment in the ILO’s framework of fundamental principles and rights at work. As a result, two conventions on occupational safety and health, namely, the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155), and the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No.187), are defined as fundamental conventions, as an integral part of ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. These two instruments collectively provide a framework for establishing an occupational safety and health (OSH) management system based, inter alia, on the principles of the prevention of accidents and continuous improvement. On 28 April, we will have another celebration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, and this year’s theme A Safe and Healthy Working Environment: A Fundamental Principle and Right at Work.

Mongolia has shown its commitment to occupational safety and health, by ratifying Convention No. 155 on Occupational Safety and Health in 1998, Convention No. 176 on Safety and Health in Mines in 2015, and Convention No. 167 on Safety and Health in Construction in 2020. I am sure due consideration will be given to the ratification of the ILO Convention Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006 (No.187), which is the only fundamental conventions yet to be ratified.

Mongolia’s commitment is translated into action at national level. The MLSP has been revising its OSH regulations in line with the newly revised Labour Law and plans to revise the Law on Occupational Safety and Hygiene (2015) with the support of the ILO. And the Labour Law of 2021 brings an improvement for enforcement of laws and regulations, by allowing unannounced labour inspection visits, which is in line with international labour standards. And the restructuring of state inspection system, which puts the labour inspectorate under the MLSP, will allow better coordination for more effective enforcement. This is all significant breakthrough into right direction.

ILO is honoured to have been a part of this process of improvement, through our technical assistance, including our support in the development of the National OSH Action Programme for 2021-2025. In fact, today’s joint OSH campaign is a part of our joint action under this National OSH Action Programme.

Ladies and gentlemen, safe and healthy workplace is a must not only for saving lives, preventing human and family tragedy, but also for creating environment for sustainable enterprise developments. We all share a collective responsibility to ensure safe and healthy workplaces. It is not just about following rules and regulations – it is caring about myself, ourselves, our families and friends, and community.

Let us stand together as one to prioritize the safety and health of every worker, and create a workplace where every person feels valued, protected, and empowered. Together, we can make a real difference in promoting occupational safety and health in Mongolia. Let us remember that every worker deserves to return home safely to their loved ones.

Thank you.