National Workshop on Radiation and Industrial Safety in Mining Industries,
Antananarivo, Madagascar, 16-18 January, 2017
IAEA TC Project MAG 9005
Opening Remarks By Dr. Shengli Niu
On behalf of ILO Office in Antananarivo
Your Excellency Mr Minister near the Presidency in charge of mining and oil,
DGs of OMNIS (Office of the national mining and strategic resources), INSTN (Institut national des Sciences et Techniques de Madagascar),
Dr Ma of the IAEA,
Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen,
Mr Christian Ntsay, Director of the ILO Office in Antananarivo, is unable to attend the workshop due to other prior commitments and has asked me to convey his greetings to all the participants of this workshop and to deliver this opening speech on behalf of his office and the ILO. The ILO is extremely pleased to collaborate with the IAEA for this National Workshop on Radiation and Industrial Safety in Mining Industries, at Antananarivo, Madagascar.
This workshop is convened as a result of close cooperation between the host and the IAEA in collaboration with the ILO. I thank the IAEA for its commitment to involve the ILO in its work on protection of workers against exposure to ionizing radiation.
The ILO was founded to promote social justice as a contribution to universal lasting peace. Its mandate is to ensure everyone the right to earn a living in freedom, equity, security and dignity, in short, the right to Decent Work. The ILO creates international labour standards including standards on safety and health at work and has a unique system to supervise their application. The ILO Convention concerning the Protection of Workers against Ionizing Radiation (No. 115) and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 114) have been the only international legal instruments on radiation protection of workers. The ILO also has a Convention on Safety and Health in Mines (No.176) and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 183) which were adopted in 1995 at the international Labour Conference. These four instruments are particularly relevant to the topics of this workshop.
At the global level, we cherish our good cooperation with the IAEA and other relevant international organizations on setting up international guidelines and standards on radiation safety and protection. We believe that such a cooperation not only facilitates the implementation of the ILO Conventions No. 115 and No. 176 on radiation protection and safety and health in mines by our constituents but increase, at the national level, the synergy impacts of the relevant international policies on radiation and industrial safety and protection formulated by other sister organizations. Our common goal is that our activities would not only be complementary but mutually supportive.
Accidents and injuries at work occur not always because people donâ€™t know safety rules. In many cases, people do know the safety rules but choose to ignore or do not follow them strictly.
We, in the ILO, expect the enterprises and workplaces to follow proper occupational safety and health rules and regulations so as to avoid accidents, diseases and other problems at work.
Having a safe and healthy workplace is a basic human right. Respecting this human right is an obligation â€“ as well as a condition -- for sustainable economic development. The ILO will continue to support its constituents, namely employers, workers and governments, in their efforts to achieve a safe and healthy working and living environment for all workers and the public.
In the coming days, there will be presentations and discussions which will provide useful insights on how we could better the protection of workers safety and health in mines. Practical measures should be developed and carefully implemented to solve workplace occupational safety and health problems including radiation protection in contrast to imparting technical knowledge of academic value. I hope that the completion of the workshop will be the starting of concrete actions to improve and strengthen the protection of workers in mines against all hazards including ionizing radiation at the workplace.
I wish you every success for fruitful deliberations that will eventually bring valuable benefits for the future of the safety and health of the people at work all over the world.
Dr. Shengli Niu was trained in medicine and specialized in public health, epidemiology and occupational health (MD, MPH & MSc).
Dr Niu had worked for the Ministry of Health of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China for eight years and for the World Health Organization for two years at its Beijing Office before he joined the ILO in 1994. He is currently working as a coordinator and senior specialist in occupational Health at the Programme on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment (SafeWork) of the International Labour Office in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr. Niu has led a number of international efforts in developing global policies on occupational safety and health including the updating of the ILOâ€™s international list of occupational diseases and the development of international guide lines on workersâ€™ health surveillance and on national systems for recording and reporting of occupational diseases. He is currently leading an international expert group to develop ILOâ€™s international guidelines on diagnostic criteria for occupational diseases.