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Alarm sounded over safety and health in Iraq's oil and gas sector

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18 November, 2022Participants in a workshop on occupational safety and health in the oil and gas sector, organized by IndustriALL Global Union with the participation of a number of unions, the International Labour Organization in Iraq and the National Center of Health and Safety-Basra Branch, are sounding the alarm over the worrying situation of occupational safety and health in Iraq.

The issue must be addressed with an integrated vision taking into account the climate change resulting from global warming and environmental pollution. The emission of gases from extraction operations and oil industries is considered one of the main reasons behind the aggravation of the issue.
Participants pointed to the phenomenon of disease outbreaks directly related to certain occupations due to the poor compliance of employers with occupational safety and health measures.
This bleak picture requires that government, business owners, unions, civil society organizations, international organizations and development partners take serious steps to improve working ocnditions.

An important step is the development of a legislative framework, in particular a speedy enactment of the Occupational Safety and Health Law in line with IILO Convention 155 on Occupational Safety and Health, as well as the adoption of safe and healthy work environment as a fundamental principle and right at work by the International Labour Conference earlier this year. 

Participants called for the establishment of national policies and mechanisms to effectively monitor the compliance of companies the oil and gas sector, taking into account the steps recently taken by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs through its close cooperation with ILO in Iraq. This includes the preparation of a national policy, profile and programme for occupational safety and health, emphasizing the continuing technical cooperation in  implementing the provisions of this policy, activating the notification and recording system of accidents and work injuries for workers, as well as occupational diseases developed by the ILO in Iraq, and periodically building the capacities of the Ministry in the area of ​​strategic compliance planning for occupational safety and health inspections.

Participants appealed to all parties to develop plans and programmes for a Just Transition, to an environment that uses clean energy and technology, placing the protection of workers’ health and safety at the top of its priorities. 

This article was originally published in its entirety by the ILO.