Occupational health services for all

When occupational health services are provided as part of the health care system, they should reach all the workers who need them, including workers in small and medium-sized enterprises and farming. Basic occupational health services can be provided through primary health care system.

WHO’s Global Plan of Action on Workers’ Health 2008–2017 follows up the global strategy for occupational health for all. The Global Plan takes a public health perspective in addressing workers’ health, including primary prevention of occupational risks, protection and promotion of health at work, work-related social determinants of health, and improving the performance of health systems.

The Plan recommends that Member States and WHO:

  • strengthen the governance and leadership function of national health systems to respond to the specific health needs of working populations;
  • establish basic levels of health protection at all workplaces to decrease inequalities in workers' health between and within countries and strengthen the promotion of health at work;
  • ensure access of all workers to preventive health services and link occupational health to primary health care;
  • improve the knowledge base for action on protecting and promoting the health of workers and establish linkages between health and work;
  • stimulate incorporation of actions on workers' health into other policies, such as sustainable development, poverty reduction, trade liberalization, environmental protection and employment.