Enhancing safe and secure workplaces in FSC-certified operations

Interholco / Tullia Baldassarri
It's time for robust discussions on access and worker representation.
Low-angle shot of workers in a forest
Interholco / Tullia Baldassarri
April 28, 2023
Category : General news

Responsible forestry does more than protect the health and resilience of forests—it also protects the well-being of the people who live and work in them. These people include workers whose livelihoods depend on forest products. When forests are FSC certified, their managers commit to ensuring the social and economic well-being of workers and local communities.  

The theme for this year’s World Day for Safety and Health at Work commemorated on 28th April 2023 highlights a safe and healthy working environment as a fundamental principle and right at work. This occasion combined with International Workers’ Day on May 1st provides an opportunity to reflect on how to continuously improve and secure safe working conditions. 

FSC made an important step forward towards securing workers’ rights when it incorporated the International Labour Organization Core Labour Requirements into the FSC certification system. This requires organizations to implement health and safety practices to protect workers from occupational safety and health hazards and includes no child or forced labour, no employment discrimination, and the right to collective bargaining. These safety practices are expected to meet or exceed the recommendations of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Code of Practice on Safety and Health in Forestry Work. 

Building on this, at the 2022 FSC General Assembly, FSC members proposed and approved additional requirements to improve and secure worker fundamental rights which include health and safety requirements.  These requirements include the provision of access to the workplace for worker representatives to enable them to exchange with workers on health and safety issues.  

Another requirement proposed is to guarantee that workers have the right to frequently and freely elect Occupational Health and Safety Representatives in all FSC certified Organizations, considering the number of workers and the occupational risks involved. It further calls for adequate training for health and safety representatives to exercise their function which includes advising management and workers on health and safety best practice in the workplace.  

Securing workers’ rights and enhancing safe and secure workplaces in FSC certified operations is an integral component of FSC’s mission and FSC will continue to encourage and enable robust discussion with all affected and interested stakeholders to advance dialogue and action on health and safety requirements. 

If you’d like to learn more about how FSC is making a difference for people all around the world, visit here