LRG WG3: Occupational Health and Safety

28 Sep 2022 Geneva, Switzerland 28 Sep - 28 Sep

LRG WG3: Occupational Health and Safety

  • 28 Sep - 28 Sep
  • Geneva, Switzerland

13:00 - 16:00 CEST

The 2022 workshop of the PSI Global LRG Network’s Working Group on Occupational Safety and Health – OSH (WG3) was held online Wednesday 28 September from 13:00-16:00 CEST.

This workshop will input the development of a PSI OSH guidance for LRG public service professions, among the most dangerous within the public sector.


LRG workers face specific challenges to access many labour and trade union rights, including OSH rights. They often face daunting OSH risks and are particularly exposed to a wide range of both physical and psychosocial hazards, including third-party violence as they deal directly with service users. Some LRG professions can be particularly dangerous by their nature (e.g. waste collection and disposal, water and sanitation, public emergency services; green space, public building and road maintenance; burial services; social services, etc.).[1] New OSH challenges have emerged during the pandemic, while old ones have become much more apparent. Waste workers – already at great risk of contamination and disease in normal times – have had to collect and dispose of contaminated medical waste, while disinfecting public space, sometimes with very poor and inadequate means. 

The International Labour Conference 2022 has approved the right to a safe and healthy working environment as the 5th fundamental principle of Decent Work as intended by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). This means that as of now, even ILO member states that have not ratified key OSH conventions have an obligation to comply with them to all workplaces - both in the public and private sector - and the obligation to respect, fulfil and promote OSH covers both workers' physical and mental health. However, LRG often workers receive little or no access to training and ignore their OSH rights. The lack of professionalisation of their category among public service workers in several countries – jointly with the lack of public investment in local public services – exacerbate the OSH challenges of LRG workers. The strategic role OSH played in local public service continuation and resilience through the Covid pandemic prompted the first ever joint PSI-United Cities and Local Government (UCLG) declaration “Strong local public services for a safe world”.


OSH has been identified by PSI’s LRG Global Network as a strategic area of work and included in its Action Plan 2022-2027 to:

  •  Identify LRG profession-specific OSH priorities shared by PSI affiliates worldwide

  • Develop shared guidance, union checklists and training materials on the key OSH challenges around those priority LRG professions - including specific PPE, Covid-related and other vaccine needs - around which to organize workers

  • Empower LRG affiliates to demand and win the setup of joint union-management joint OSH workplace committees with LRG employers, and use them as an entry point to progressively build or strenghten a practice of social dialogue and collective bargaining

  • Identify strategic areas for OSH research of immediate, actionable interest to LRG workers.

[1] Even if they can be LRG workers, this WG will not look at the OSH dimension of Health Workers, which is dealt with in PSI’s Health Sector.


 13h00-13h10 – Welcome & Discussion Framing 

13h10-14h00 (50’) §1 Occupational Safety and Health in LRG services: key challenges and opportunities

Opening contributions by:

  • Jon Richards, Assistant General Secretary, UNISON, UK

  • Joaquim Pintado Nunes, Chief of the Labour Administration, Labour Inspection and Occupational Safety and Health Branch of the Governance and Tripartism Department of the International Labour Organisation (ILO)

Followed by Q&A

Opening contributions

14h00-14h50 (50’) §2 Trade union OSH strategies to organise and win rights and conditions in LRG workplaces

Opening contributions by:

  • José Maria Cobano Nuñez, Federal Secretary for OSH and the Environment, UGT-SP, Spain

  • Aisha Bahadur, Projects Officer, Union Development, PSI

Followed by Q&A

15.30-15.45 (15’) - §4 Plenary Reporting

15.45-16.00 (15’) - Conclusions and Next Steps


15.30-15.45 (15’) - §4 Plenary Reporting

15.45-16.00 (15’) - Conclusions and Next Steps

Guidance questions

  • What LRG professions should be prioritised by PSI to develop OSH guidance and check lists? What are their immediate specific OSH challenges?

  • What do LRG unions need the most as OSH tools? E.g. shared guidance, union checklists and training materials, others?

  • What good practice and exemples do we already have wintin our global LRG community? Please share your material!

  • How can LRG unions demand and win the setup of joint union-management OSH workplace committees in LRG workplaces? • How can we use OSH joint committees as an entry point to progressively build or stranghten a practice of social dialogue and collective bargaining?

  • What areas of OSH research are strategic and of immediate and actionable interest to LRG workers?

Sample of OSH resources by PSI unions representing LRG workers:

  Additional information:

This activity is carried out in completion of the Action Plan for PSI’s LRG Network 2022-2027.  Consider engaging your union’s expertise in the priority topics identified in the programme and Action Plan by writing to: Daria Cibrario, PSI LRG Officer at: or PSI LRG and Municipal Services at:

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