Contents of the ILO Encyclopaedia of Occupational health and Safety



Introduction to the new Fourth Edition

What's new in the Fourth Edition

Preface to the new Fourth Edition

Foreword by the Editor in Chief

List of Contributing Institutions





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About Workplace Health and Safety Information

Dedicated to Safety at Work
The history of the Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety is tightly interwoven with the history of the organization which publishes it. The International Labour Organization’s Constitution calls for an improvement of working conditions and "the protection of the worker from sickness, disease and injury arising out of … employment". The Encyclopaedia is one manifestation of this long-term commitment.

At the International Labour Conference in 1919, the year the Organization was founded, the ILO was asked to "draw up a list of the principal processes to be considered unhealthy". Given the complexity of this task, preparation of a comprehensive encyclopaedia was substituted for the list. It was decided that the Encyclopaedia would analyse work, workers and the working environment; the substances used at work and their related hazards; possible sources of disease and injury; methods of treatment and prevention; and existing protective legislation.

A Tradition of Leadership
The decision to create the ILO Encyclopaedia contributed greatly to the establishment of the multidisciplinary field of occupational health and safety. The publication of the fourth edition continues this tradition of leadership and innovation in the field.

The first edition was published in 1930 (and again in 1934). It contained over four hundred articles covering specific industries, occupation and hazards; medicine and hygiene; and some social policy issues. More than half of the articles were devoted to various individual chemicals. The Encyclopaedia has been expanded significantly since then. The new fourth edition contains over 100 chapters comprising over 1,000 separate articles. Its Guide to chemicals provides information on more than 2,000 chemicals. Specific industries and their associated hazards are discussed in detail. Medicine and occupational hygiene are covered in comprehensive sections and social policy issues are addressed by recognized authorities.
The Encyclopaedia is the most widely distributed ILO publication. Both authoritative and accessible, it is the fundamental reference for occupational health and safety programming in many parts of the world.

Produced by Experts from around the World
From the beginning, the ILO has relied on experts from around the world to write and review articles for the Encyclopaedia. Mirroring the unique tripartite structure of the ILO, the authorship of the Encyclopaedia includes representatives from government, employers’ organizations and labour unions. Experts from over 50 countries contributed to the fourth edition, and practically every major professional organization and academic institution involved in occupational health and safety has assisted in its creation.


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