International health and safety standards after Brexit

A useful guide to and analysis of international regulations covering health and safety at work

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About the book

With the coronavirus pandemic dominating global news, health and safety is paramount and nowhere more so than in our workplaces. But with uncertainty surrounding the status of protective regulations in a post-Brexit Britain and the fear that established benchmarks could be negotiated away in future trade deals, the pressing need to abide by collectively recognised international health and safety standards could not be more acute.

In this report the authors examine those treaties that help govern our workplaces. They note that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is the single most important organisation charged with developing global legal standards for workplace rights. Unfortunately, in a league table of EU states’ ratification of ILO standards, the UK ranks 26 out of 28.

But despite this appalling record, the authors explain that the UK remains bound by other treaties covering the UK, each of which use ILO health and safety standards as their primary source. This will remain the case whether or not the UK remains bound by EU treaties and regardless of the type of trade agreements reached.

As Rory O’Neill, says in his Preface, ‘the need for global safety standards has never been more acute. When the UK fails to ratify ILO safety Conventions, it sends a signal worldwide that safety beyond its immediate doorstep doesn’t matter’. As the coronavirus pandemic shows, threats to the safety and health of global citizens knows no borders.


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This publication is available free as a hard copy (not including p&p) and electronic download.

This publication has been publishes as an article in the Institute of Employment Rights journal, published by Pluto Journals. More information on the journal can be found on the journal website here.

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