Kazakhstan: 95th session of International Labour Conference begins

Kazakhstan Materials 14 June 2006 18:05 (UTC +04:00)

When Kazakhstan became an independent state in 1991, an important part of the countryРІР'в"ўs labour force moved from the state to the private sector, from industry to services and from rural to urban areas.

Working conditions deteriorated drastically and many of the thousands of victims of accidents and work-related diseases did not even receive compensation because of the bankruptcy of enterprises, or because these enterprises had already moved into the fast-growing informal economy where people work without proper labour contracts or social protection. This made it also difficult to assess the real number of occupational accidents and diseases, reports Trend.

Another serious problem was the growing gap between the reality at work and an outdated labour legislation, which did not reflect adequately the new relationship between workers, employers and the state and, therefore, did not contribute to the development of a sustainable economy and safe working conditions.

The Republic of Kazakhstan, however, took a comprehensive and sustainable approach to the problem by revising old and adopting new national legislation. From 1999 to 2004, a group of laws was adopted, including a civil code and employment and labour laws, as well as a law on OSH and social partnership.

The Law on Occupational Safety and Health merits special attention. It defines responsibilities of employers and workers in the sphere of OSH, establishes state control over compliance with the OSHlegislation and determines procedures for OSH management. The preparation of a national OSH profile in 2004 allowed for the identification of the main gaps and problems in OSH. The profile contained an in-depth analysis of the situation, and outlined the main steps to be undertaken to improve the situation.

Whats more, Kazakhstan has ratified the key ILO Conventions: Convention No. 81 on Labour Inspection in Industry and Commerce, Convention No.129 on Labour Inspection in Agriculture, Convention No. 148 on the Working Environment and Convention No. 155 on Occupational Safety and Health.

Finally, in 2005, the government approved a national programme of occupational safety and health for 2005 through 2007. The programme provides for the development of national OSH standards, introduction of a national OSH management system, legal support for the countrys OSH policy, coordination of activities and functions of organizations dealing OSH and monitoring and training.

The government of Kazakhstan fully understands the role of occupational safety and health in achieving a productive and sustainable economy, says Gulzhana Karagussova, Kazakhstans Minister of Labour and Social Protection, adding that enterprises with proper OSH management system perform better because safe work is good business. Similarly, OSH management systems need to be created [with] the ILOs long-standing experience and expertise [in mind].

The ILO provided assistance inpreparing the national OSH profile and in drafting Kazakhstans new law on occupational safety and health.

The country was also the first in the region to request the ILO to conduct an international audit of its labour inspection system; in October 2005, the results of the audit were presented to all countries of the region to be used as a model for the future.