Overview

In the context of the GRI Standards, the social dimension of sustainability concerns an organization’s impacts on the social systems within which it operates. 

GRI 403 addresses the topic of occupational health and safety. Healthy and safe work conditions are recognized as a human right and addressed in authoritative intergovernmental instruments, including those of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the World Health Organization (WHO). Healthy and safe work conditions are also a target of the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the United Nations (UN) as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Healthy and safe work conditions involve both prevention of physical and mental harm, and promotion of workers’ health. 

Prevention of harm and promotion of health require an organization to demonstrate commitment to workers' health and safety. They also require the organization to engage workers in the development, implementation, and performance evaluation of an occupational health and safety policy, management system and programs that are appropriate to the organization’s size and activities. 

It is essential that workers are consulted in the development of an organization’s occupational health and safety policy, and participate in the processes necessary to plan, support, operate, and continually evaluate the effectiveness of the occupational health and safety management system and programs. 

Hazard identification and risk assessment, worker training, and incident identification and investigation are also key to planning, supporting, operating, and evaluating the occupational health and safety management system. 

In addition to preventing harm, an organization can promote workers’ health by offering healthcare services or voluntary health promotion services and programs, which, for example, help workers improve their diet or quit smoking. These additional services and programs cannot serve as a substitute for occupational health and safety programs, services and systems that prevent harm and protect workers from work-related injuries and ill health. 

All services and programs that aim to prevent harm and promote workers’ health are expected to respect workers’ right to privacy. Organizations are expected not to use workers' participation in such services and programs, or the health data derived therefrom, as criteria for their decisions regarding employment or engagement of workers, including termination, demotion, promotion or offering of prospects, compensation, or any other favorable or unfavorable treatment.

 

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