Recognizing the rights and needs of workers to be informed of occupational and environmental health hazards in the workplace, and of the public to be informed of hazards posed to the community by the activities of enterprises. The creation or strengthening of information systems on health, environment and safety management and performance in enterprises, making them accessible to employers and employees.
Employers, employees and their trade unions must have a sound understanding of the basic principles used to control and act on environmental, social, occupational and lifestyle determinants of health, and of the value of (and methods for) cleaner and safer production and pollution prevention. Education and training for workers increase awareness of the need for environmental measures. A key issue for the development of good environmental practice in enterprises is the availability of know-how, tools and information to provide practicable solutions, awareness of the economic and financial benefits, and an active public relations and communication strategy to disseminate solutions.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.
The information needs of workers, who may be exposed to particular hazards in the workplace, should be given special consideration to the extent that those needs are not met through general public access provisions. Collective agreements between workers and management have included clauses related to information, and a growing legislative and institutional framework has strengthened workers' rights in this area. However, further progress is needed, as reflected among other things in the relatively small number of countries which have ratified the ILO Occupational Safety and Health Convention (1981, No. 155).
Governments and employers should ensure that workers and their representatives are provided with all relevant information to enable effective participation in these decision-making processes.