Background

At its 19th session in February 2010, the HLCM considered a paper from the Medical Directors on Occupational Safety and Health and requested the Directors to come back with a fully developed proposed policy. Subsequent to that decision, the JIU issued a report with recommendations for implementation of system-wide accountability for Occupational Safety and Health.

The draft Occupational Health and Safety Framework was presented by the Chair of the Medical Directors Working Group. The objective of the proposed Framework is to keep UN System staff ‘fit for purpose’ and ensure the UN system, as an employer, discharges its duty of care to staff. In implementing the Framework, organizations would go to through six phases, with a suggested completion date of the last phase at December 2018.

Discussion

HLCM members expressed their support for the proposed Framework, and emphasized the linkages between the current proposed Occupational Health and Safety Framework and the security and risk management strategies and tools.

A number of organizations noted the diversity in work environments among UN agencies, which could have an impact on the proposed implementation of the Framework. Some concern was also expressed regarding the resources required by organizations to implement the Framework.  

Action

The Commiittee:

  • Expressed appreciation for the work of the Medical Directors Working Group on this subject.
  • Supported the adoption of the UN System Occupational Health and Safety Framework.
  • Emphasized the importance of a phased implementation, taking into account the different work environment of each organization.
  • Noted that implementation should proceed taking into consideration linkages with security and risk management.
  • Requested the UN Medical Directors Working Group to collect, during the first two phases of implementation, data and information regarding the costing and resourcing for the subsequent phases.