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Health and safety in Armenia

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13 September, 2022Although Armenia ratified ILO Convention 176 on safety and health in mines in 1998, there is still several pending issues. On 9-11 September, IndustriALL and the ILO held a health and safety workshop for the Trade Union of Miners, Metallurgists and Jewellers of Armenia, attended by representatives from the country’s labour inspectorate and directors from big mining and metallurgical companies.

The state labour inspectorate of Armenia was closed in 2015. In 2017, it was restored with limited function, and regained its power in 2021. There is a shortage of labour inspectors, as many left for other jobs. Currently, there is no higher education institution to train labour inspectors and participants in the workshop discussed the need to bring this up with Armenia’s ministry of education.

The general director of Rusal Armenal, an aluminum mill, spoke about the implementation of a health and safety programme where workers are invited to take part in the detection of health and safety risks to eliminate threats. The company has installed terminals through which workers can upload photos of dangerous places together with a description of the risks. A mobile application allows workers to do the same through their smartphones.

Participants decided on the possible establishment of a joint health and safety committee in the mining industry, as well as regular meetings to develop a health and safety policy for the industry, and to contact relevant ministries.

"The mining and metallurgical industry, along with energy and construction, are among the top three industries with the highest rates of injuries, including fatalities. We consider this seminar as the first serious meeting of social partners, opening up an opportunity to build a functioning labor protection system. IndustryALL is ready to provide support for this endeavor, but in the end it will depend on whether the parties manage to establish a permanent social dialogue,"

said IndustriALL regional secretary Vadim Borisov.

For the next meeting, it was decided to submit an assessment of the legislative framework for health and safety in Armenia, as well as for situations which cannot be resolved due to legal contradictions.

ILO confirmed its readiness to provide further assistance if the social partners continue to meet to resolve the issues.