The needs to reduce risk and to provide a safe working environment are fundamental principles of mine action management. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has established minimum norms and basic standards, which regulate conditions of work and safety in the work place. These standards apply to all branches of economic activity and categories of employment, including mine action, unless specifically excluded by national legislation. Notwithstanding the legal requirements, mine action imposes a moral imperative and duty of care by managers at all levels.
It is necessary to clarify the meaning of the term 'safe' in respect of mine action. To say that a situation is safe does not necessarily imply that all risk has been removed. It merely assumes that the risk has been reduced to a 'tolerable' level, i.e. '.... to a level which is accepted in a given context based on the current values of society'. (See ISO Guide 51.)
Managers of mine action programmes and projects are to achieve a safe working environment by providing effective management and supervision, by developing work practices that contribute to risk reduction, selecting equipment with inherently safe design, providing appropriate training, and making available effective Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and protective clothing for both male and female employees.
Given the wide range of operational settings and mine action activities, it is not possible to provide a precise and complete set of specifications or provisions that apply to all situations. Thus, mine action organisations should develop and maintain management procedures and processes that will enable Safety and Occupational Health (S&OH) risks to be identified, evaluated and reduced in a systematic and timely manner.
The aim of this standard is to provide guidance for the development and implementation of S&OH management systems for use in mine action. The document is in three parts: clause 1 to 3 define the scope, references and terms used in the standard; clause 4 and 5 define the requirements, specifications and responsibilities; and the Annexes provide additional detailed information and guidance on how the standard can be applied.
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