Inspecting Occupational Safety and Health in the Construction Industry
International Labor Organization handbook is designed to help provide information and training for inspectors. It contains information on key safety and health concepts and occupational safety and health issues, including managing an inspection program and performing on-site inspections.
ILO Convention C167 on Safety and Health in Construction, 1988
C167 Safety and Health in Construction Convention, 1988
(ratified by 23 countries, as for April 2009)
Convention concerning Safety and Health in Construction
(Note: Date of coming into force: 11:01:1991)
Convention: C167; Place: Geneva; Session of the Conference: 75;
Date of adoption: 20:06:1988
The General Conference of the International Labour Organisation, Having been convened at Geneva by the Governing Body of the International Labour Office, and havingmet in its Seventy-fifth Session on 1 June 1988, and Noting the relevant international labour Conventions and Recommendations and, in particular, the Safety Provisions (Building) Convention and Recommendation, 1937, the Co-operation in Accident Prevention (Building) Recommendation, 1937, the Radiation Protection Convention and Recommendation, 1960, the Guarding of Machinery Convention and Recommendation, 1963, the Maximum Weight Convention and Recommendation, 1967, the Occupational Cancer Convention and Recommendation, 1974, the Working Environment (Air Pollution, Noise and Vibration) Convention and Recommendation, 1977, the Occupational Safety and Health Convention and Recommendation, 1981, the Occupational Health Services Convention and Recommendation, 1985, the Asbestos Convention and Recommendation, 1986, and the list of occupational diseases as revised in 1980 appended to the Employment Injury Benefits Convention, 1964, and Having decided upon the adoption of certain proposals with regard to safety and health in construction, which is the fourth item on the agenda of the session, and Having determined that these proposals shall take the form of an international Convention revising the Safety Provisions (Building) Convention, 1937, adopts the twentieth day of June of the year one thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight, the following Convention, which may be cited as the Safety and Health in Construction Convention, 1988:
I. Scope and Definitions
- This Convention applies to all construction activities, namely building, civil engineering, and erection and dismantling work, including any process, operation or transport on a construction site, from the preparation of the site to the completion of the project.
- A Member ratifying this Convention may, after consultation with the most representative organisations of employers and workers concerned, where they exist, exclude from the application of the Convention, or certain provisions thereof, particular branches of economic activity or particular undertakings in respect of which special problems of a substantial nature arise, on condition that a safe and healthy working environment is maintained.
- This Convention also applies to such self-employed persons as may be specified by national laws or regulations.
For the purpose of this Convention:
- The term construction covers:
- (i) building, including excavation and the construction, structural alteration, renovation, repair, maintenance (including cleaning and painting) and demolition of all types of buildings or structures;
(ii) civil engineering, including excavation and the construction, structural alteration, repair, maintenance and demolition of, for example, airports, docks, harbours, inland waterways, dams, river and avalanche and sea defence works, roads and highways, railways, bridges, tunnels, viaducts and works related to the provision of services such as communications, drainage, sewerage, water and energy supplies;
(iii) the erection and dismantling of prefabricated buildings and structures, as well as the manufacturing of prefabricated elements on the construction site;
- the term construction site means any site at which any of the processes or operations described in subparagraph (a) above are carried on;
- the term workplace means all places where workers need to be or to go by reason of their work and which are under the control of an employer as defined in subparagraph (e) below;
- the term worker means any person engaged in construction;
- the term employer means:
- (i) any physical or legal person who employs one or more workers on a construction site; and
(ii) as the context requires, the principal Contractor, the Contractor or the subcontractor;
- the term competent person means a person possessing adequate qualifications, such as suitable training and sufficient knowledge, experience and skill for the safe performance of the specific work. The competent authorities may define appropriate criteria for the designation of such persons and may determine the duties to be assigned to them;
- the term scaffold means any temporary structure, fixed, suspended or mobile, and its supporting components which is used for supporting workers and materials or to gain access to any such structure, and which is not a lifting appliance as defined in subparagraph (h) below;
- the term lifting appliance means any stationary or mobile appliance used for raising or lowering persons or loads;
- the term lifting gear means any gear or tackle by means of which a load can be attached to a lifting appliance but which does not form an integral part of the appliance or load.
II. General Provisions
The most representative organisations of employers and workers concerned shall be consulted on the measures to be taken to give effect to the provisions of this Convention.
Each Member which ratifies this Convention undertakes that it will, on the basis of an assessment of the safety and health hazards involved, adopt and maintain in force laws or regulations which ensure the application of the provisions of the Convention.
- The laws and regulations adopted in pursuance of Article 4 above may provide for their practical application through technical standards or codes of practice, or by other appropriate methods consistent with national conditions and practice.
- In giving effect to Article 4 above and to paragraph 1 of this Article, each Member shall have due regard to the relevant standards adopted by recognised international organisations in the field of standardisation.
Measures shall be taken to ensure that there is co-operation between employers and workers, in accordance with arrangements to be defined by national laws or regulations, in order to promote safety and health at construction sites.
National laws or regulations shall require that employers and self-employed persons have a duty to comply with the prescribed safety and health measures at the workplace.
- Whenever two or more employers undertake activities simultaneously at one construction site-
- the principal Contractor, or other person or body with actual control over or primary responsibility for overall construction site activities, shall be responsible for co-ordinating the prescribed safety and health measures and, in so far as is compatible with national laws and regulations, for ensuring compliance with such measures;
- in so far as is compatible with national laws and regulations, where the principal Contractor, or other person or body with actual control over or primary responsibility for overall construction site activities, is not present at the site, he shall nominate a competent person or body at the site with the authority and means necessary to ensure on his behalf co-ordination and compliance with the measures, as foreseen in subparagraph (a) above;
- each employer shall remain responsible for the application of the prescribed measures in respect of the workers placed under his authority.
- Whenever employers or self-employed persons undertake activities simultaneously at one construction site they shall have the duty to co-operate in the application of the prescribed safety and health measures, as may be specified by national laws or regulations.
Those concerned with the design and planning of a construction project shall take into account the safety and health of the construction workers in accordance with national laws, regulations and practice.
National laws or regulations shall provide that workers shall have the right and the duty at any workplace to participate in ensuring safe working conditions to the extent of their control over the equipment and methods of work and to express views on the working procedures adopted as they may affect safety and health.
National laws or regulations shall provide that workers shall have the duty to-
- co-operate as closely as possible with their employer in the application of the prescribed safety and health measures;
- take reasonable care for their own safety and health and that of other persons who may be affected by their acts or omissions at work;
- use facilities placed at their disposal and not misuse anything provided for their own protection or the protection of others;
- report forthwith to their immediate supervisor, and to the workers' safety representative where one exists, any situation which they believe could present a risk, and which they cannot properly deal with themselves;
- comply with the prescribed safety and health measures.
- National laws or regulations shall provide that a worker shall have the right to remove himself from danger when he has good reason to believe that there is an imminent and serious danger to his safety or health, and the duty so to inform his supervisor immediately.
- Where there is an imminent danger to the safety of workers the employer shall take immediate steps to stop the operation and evacuate workers as appropriate.
III. Preventive and Protective Measures
Article 13 - Safety of Workplaces
- All appropriate precautions shall be taken to ensure that all workplaces are safe and without risk of injury to the safety and health of workers.
- Safe means of access to and egress from all workplaces shall be provided and maintained, and indicated where appropriate.
- All appropriate precautions shall be taken to protect persons present at or in the vicinity of a construction site from all risks which may arise from such site.
Article 14 - Scaffolds and Ladders
- Where work cannot safely be done on or from the ground or from part of a building or other permanent structure, a safe and suitable scaffold shall be provided and maintained, or other equally safe and suitable provision shall be made.
- In the absence of alternative safe means of access to elevated working places, suitable and sound ladders shall be provided. They shall be property secured against inadvertent movement.
- All scaffolds and ladders shall be constructed and used in accordance with national laws and regulations. 4. Scaffolds shall be inspected by a competent person in such cases and at such times as shall be prescribed by national laws or regulations. Article
15 - Lifting Appliances and Gear
- Every lifting appliance and item of lifting gear, including their constituent elements, attachments, anchorages and supports, shall-
- be of good design and construction, sound material and adequate strength for the purpose for which they are used;
- be properly installed and used;
- be maintained in good working order;
- be examined and tested by a competent person at such times and in such cases as shall be prescribed by national laws or regulations; the results of these examinations and tests shall be recorded;
- be operated by workers who have received appropriate training in accordance with national laws and regulations.
- No person shall be raised, lowered or carried by a lifting appliance unless it is constructed, installed and used for that purpose in accordance with national laws and regulations, except in an emergency situation in which serious personal injury or fatality may occur, and for which the lifting appliance can be safely used.
Article 16 - Transport, Earth-Moving and Materials-Handling Equipment
1. All vehicles and earth-moving or materials-handling equipment shall-
- be of good design and construction taking into account as far as possible ergonomic principles;
- be maintained in good working order;
- be properly used;
- be operated by workers who have received appropriate training in accordance with national laws and regulations.
2. On all construction sites on which vehicles, earth-moving or materials-handling equipment are used-
- safe and suitable access ways shall be provided for them; and
- traffic shall be so organised and controlled as to secure their safe operation.
Article 17 - Plant, Machinery, Equipment and Hand Tools
1. Plant, machinery and equipment, including hand tools, both manual and power driven, shall-
- be of good design and construction, taking into account as far as possible ergonomic principles;
- be maintained in good working order;
- be used only for work for which they have been designed unless a use outside the initial design purposes has been assessed by a competent person who has concluded that such use is safe;
- be operated by workers who have received appropriate training.
2. Adequate instructions for safe use shall be provided where appropriate by the manufacturer or the employer, in a form understood by the users.
3. Pressure plant and equipment shall be examined and tested by a competent person in cases and at times prescribed by national laws or regulations.
Article 18 - Work at Heights Including roofwork
- Where necessary to guard against danger, or where the height of a structure or its slope exceeds that prescribed by national laws or regulations, preventive measures shall be taken against the fall of workers and tools or other objects or materials.
- Where workers are required to work on or near roofs or other places covered with fragile material, through which they are liable to fall, preventive measures shall be taken against their inadvertently stepping on or falling through the fragile material.
Article 19 - Excavations, Shafts, Earthworks, Underground Works and Tunnels
Adequate precautions shall be taken in any excavation, shaft, earthworks, underground works or tunnel-
- by suitable shoring or otherwise to guard against danger to workers from a fall or dislodgement of earth, rock or other material;
- to guard against dangers arising from the fall of persons, materials or objects or the inrush of water into the excavation, shaft, earthworks, underground works or tunnel;
- to secure adequate ventilation at every workplace so as to maintain an atmosphere fit for respiration and to limit any fumes, gases, vapours, dust or other impurities to levels which are not dangerous or injurious to health and are within limits laid down by national laws or regulations;
- to enable the workers to reach safety in the event of fire, or an inrush of water or material;
- to avoid risk to workers arising from possible underground dangers such as the circulation of fluids or the presence of pockets of gas, by undertaking appropriate investigations to locate them.
Article 20 - Cofferdams and Caissons
- Every cofferdam and caisson shall be-
- of good construction and suitable and sound material and of adequate strength;
- provided with adequate means for workers to reach safety in the event of an inrush of water or material.
- The construction, positioning, modification or dismantling of a cofferdam or caisson shall take place only under the immediate supervision of a competent person.
- Every cofferdam and caisson shall be inspected by a competent person at prescribed intervals.
Article 21 - Work in Compressed Air
- Work in compressed air shall be carried out only in accordance with measures prescribed by national laws or regulations.
- Work in compressed air shall be carried out only by workers whose physical aptitude for such work has been established by a medical examination and when a competent person is present to supervise the conduct of the operations.
Article 22 - Structural Frames and Formwork
- The erection of structural frames and components, formwork, falsework and shoring shall be carried out only under the supervision of a competent person.
- Adequate precautions shall be taken to guard against danger to workers arising from any temporary state of weakness or instability of a structure.
- Formwork, falsework and shoring shall be so designed, constructed and maintained that it will safely support all loads that may be imposed on it.
Article 23 - Work Over Water
Where work is done over or in close proximity to water there shall be adequate provision for-
- preventing workers from falling into water;
- the rescue of workers in danger of drowning;
- safe and sufficient transport.
Article 24 - Demolition
When the demolition of any building or structure might present danger to workers or to the public-
- appropriate precautions, methods and procedures shall be adopted, including those for the disposal of waste or residues, in accordance with national laws or regulations;
- the work shall be planned and undertaken only under the supervision of a competent person.
Article 25 - Lighting
Adequate and suitable lighting, including portable lighting where appropriate, shall be provided at every workplace and any other place on the construction site where a worker may have to pass.
Article 26 - Electricity
- All electrical equipment and installations shall be constructed, installed and maintained by a competent person, and so used as to guard against danger.
- Before construction is commenced and during the progress thereof adequate steps shall be taken to ascertain the presence of and to guard against danger to workers from any live electrical cable or apparatus which is under, over or on the site.
- The laying and maintenance of electrical cables and apparatus on construction sites shall be governed by the technical rules and standards applied at the national level.
Article 27 - Explosives
Explosives shall not be stored, transported, handled or used except-
- under conditions prescribed by national laws or regulations; and
- by a competent person, who shall take such steps as are necessary to ensure that workers and other persons are not exposed to risk of injury.
Article 28 - Health Hazards
- Where a worker is liable to be exposed to any chemical, physical or biological hazard to such an extent as is liable to be dangerous to health, appropriate preventive measures shall be taken against such exposure.
- The preventive measures referred to in paragraph 1 above shall comprise-
- the replacement of hazardous substances by harmless or less hazardous substances wherever possible; or
- technical measures applied to the plant, machinery, equipment or process; or
- where it is not possible to comply with subparagraphs (a) or (b) above, other effective measures, including the use of personal protective equipment and protective clothing.
- Where workers are required to enter any area in which a toxic or harmful substance may be present, or in which there may be an oxygen deficiency, or a flammable atmosphere, adequate measures shall be taken to guard against danger.
- Waste shall not be destroyed or otherwise disposed of on a construction site in a manner which is liable to be injurious to health.
Article 29 - Fire Precautions
- The employer shall take all appropriate measures to-
- avoid the risk of fire;
- combat quickly and efficiently any outbreak of fire;
- bring about a quick and safe evacuation of persons.
- Sufficient and suitable storage shall be provided for flammable liquids, solids and gases.
Article 30 - Personal Protective Equipment and Protective Clothing
- Where adequate protection against risk of accident or injury to health, including exposure to adverse conditions, cannot be ensured by other means, suitable personal protective equipment and protective clothing, having regard to the type of work and risks, shall be provided and maintained by the employer, without cost to the workers, as may be prescribed by national laws or regulations.
- The employer shall provide the workers with the appropriate means to enable them to use the individual protective equipment, and shall ensure its proper use.
- Protective equipment and protective clothing shall comply with standards set by the competent authority taking into account as far as possible ergonomic principles.
- Workers shall be required to make proper use of and to take good care of the personal protective equipment and protective clothing provided for their use.
Article 31 - First Aid
The employer shall be responsible for ensuring that first aid, including trained personnel, is available at all times. Arrangements shall be made for ensuring the removal for medical attention of workers who have suffered an accident or sudden illness.
Article 32 - Welfare
- At or within reasonable access of every construction site an adequate supply of wholesome drinking water shall be provided.
- At or within reasonable access of every construction site, the following facilities shall, depending on the number of workers and the duration of the work, be provided and maintained-
- sanitary and washing facilities;
- facilities for changing and for the storage and drying of clothing;
- accommodation for taking meals and for taking shelter during interruption of work due to adverse weather conditions.
- Men and women workers should be provided with separate sanitary and washing facilities.
Article 33 - Information and Training
Workers shall be adequately and suitably-
- informed of potential safety and health hazards to which they may be exposed at their workplace;
- instructed and trained in the measures available for the prevention and control of, and protection against, those hazards.
Article 34 - Reporting of Accidents and Diseases
National laws or regulations shall provide for the reporting to the competent authority within a prescribed time of occupational accidents and diseases.
Each Member shall-
- take all necessary measures, including the provision of appropriate penalties and corrective measures, to ensure the effective enforcement of the provisions of the Convention;
- provide appropriate inspection services to supervise the application of the measures to be taken in pursuance of the Convention and provide these services with the resources necessary for the accomplishment of their task, or satisfy itself that appropriate inspection is carried out.
V. Final Provisions
This Convention revises the Safety Provisions (Building) Convention, 1937.
The formal ratifications of this Convention shall be communicated to the Director-General of the International Labour Office for registration.
- This Convention shall be binding only upon those Members of the International Labour Organisation whose ratifications have been registered with the Director-General.
- It shall come into force twelve months after the date on which the ratifications of two Members have been registered with the Director-General.
- Thereafter, this Convention shall come into force for any Member twelve months after the date on which its ratification has been registered.
- A Member which has ratified this Convention may denounce it after the expiration of ten years from the date on which the Convention first comes into force, by an act communicated to the Director-General of the International Labour Office for registration. Such denunciation shall not take effect until one year after the date on which it is registered.
- Each Member which has ratified this Convention and which does not, within the year following the expiration of the period of ten years mentioned in the preceding paragraph, exercise the right of denunciation provided for in this Article, will be bound for another period of ten years and, thereafter, may denounce this Convention at the expiration of each period of ten years under the terms provided for in this Article.
- The Director-General of the International Labour Office shall notify all Members of the International Labour Organisation of the registration of all ratifications and denunciations communicated to him by the Members of the Organisation.
- When notifying the members of the Organisation of the registration of the second ratification communicated to him, the Director-General shall draw the attention of the Members of the Organisation to the date upon which the Convention will come into force.
The Director-General of the International Labour Office shall communicate to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for registration in accordance with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations full particulars of all ratifications and acts of denunciation registered by him in accordance with the provisions of the preceding Articles.
At such times as it may consider necessary the Governing Body of the International Labour Office shall present to the General Conference a report on the working of this Convention and shall examine the desirability of placing on the agenda of the Conference the question of its revision in whole or in part.
- Should the Conference adopt a new Convention revising this Convention in whole or in part, then, unless the new Convention otherwise provides-
- the ratification by a Member of the new revising Convention shall ipso jure involve the immediate denunciation of this Convention, notwithstanding the provisions of Article 39 above, if and when the new revising Convention shall have come into force;
- as from the date when the new revising Convention comes into force this Convention shall cease to be open to ratification by the Members.
- This Convention shall in any case remain in force in its actual form and content for those Members which have ratified it but have not ratified the revising Convention.
Conventions: C062 Safety Provisions (Building) Convention, 1937
Recommendations: R053 Safety Provisions (Building) Recommendation, 1937
Recommendations: R055 Co-operation in Accident Prevention (Building) Recommendation, 1937
Conventions: C115 Radiation Protection Convention, 1960
Recommendations: R114 Radiation Protection Recommendation, 1960
Conventions: C119 Guarding of Machinery Convention, 1963
Recommendations: R118 Guarding of Machinery Recommendation, 1963
Conventions: C127 Maximum Weight Convention, 1967
Recommendations: R128 Maximum Weight Recommendation, 1967
Conventions: C139 Occupational Cancer Convention, 1974
Recommendations: R147 Occupational Cancer Recommendation, 1974
Conventions: C148 Working Environment (Air Pollution, Noise and Vibration) Convention, 1977
Recommendations: R156 Working Environment (Air Pollution, Noise and Vibration) Recommendation, 1977
Conventions: C155 Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981
Recommendations: R164 Occupational Health and Safety Recommendation, 1981
Conventions: C161 Occupational Health Services Convention, 1985
Recommendations: R171 Occupational Health Services Recommendation, 1985
Conventions: C162 Asbestos Convention, 1986
Recommendations: R172 Asbestos Recommendation, 1986
Conventions: C121 Employment Injury Benefits Convention, 1964
Revised: C062 This Convention revises the Safety Provisions (Building) Convention, 1937