Tuesday, 03 May 2011 10:33

Excerpts from the Preface to the Third Edition (1983)

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The decision to publish the second edition of the Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety was taken some 15 years ago, and its preparation lasted throughout the years 1966 to 1971. Since then a great deal of progress has been made in the knowledge and activities covered by this publication. Side by side with technological progress there have been great advances in methods of identifying, evaluating and controlling occupational hazards and providing health protection in the workplace. Toxic substances, dust in industry, mineral fibres, non-ionising radiation, allergy and occupationally induced cancer have been the subject of intensive experimental research and important epidemiological studies. Nevertheless, the changes that took place in working environments in the 1970s were not due merely to wider technical knowledge and awareness. A new trend began to take shape: the workers’ claim for a better quality of life at work and the increasing involvement of trade unions in health and safety protection in the workplace, the fuller support by employers of comprehensive occupational health and safety programmes and increasing efforts by governments to apply far-reaching measures in this field. This trend has been reflected in national and international legislation concerning the working environment and working conditions, which has advanced to an unprecedented extent. Thus the panorama of occupational health and safely, industrial hygiene and ergonomics has undergone profound changes in many member countries of the ILO, not only as regards the state of the art, but also as regards the practical application of these disciplines in the workplace…

It is 63 years since the ILO first established as one of its basic objectives “the protection of the worker against sickness, disease and injury arising out of his employment”. The objective is still the same, but the form and methods of this protection have evolved along with technical progress and economic development… International dissemination of the most recent scientific and practical knowledge in this field is an integral part of ILO activity—together with the traditional modes of action: standard-setting and technical co-operation—to promote the increased effectiveness of health and safety protection at work throughout the world. The new edition of the Encyclopaedia will make an important contribution to that great endeavour.

Francis Blanchard
International Labour Office
Geneva, 1983

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