Rights of workers and exposure to toxic and otherwise hazardous substances

Haiti: Waste in Time © Giles Clark One worker dies approximately every 30 seconds from exposure to toxic chemicals, pesticides, radiation and other hazardous substances, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).  Global supply chains are often implicated for both failing to protect workers from toxic exposures and refusing to provide an effective remedy for individuals harmed. Poverty, gender, age, ethnicity and migration are among the many themes that frequently recur in cases of workers and toxic harms.

In his 2018 annual report to the Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes (toxics), Baskut Tuncak, reports on the global crisis confronting workers exposed to toxic chemicals. Efforts in various fora are underway to improve occupational health and safety standards.  The Rapporteur’s report offers 15 principles to help States, businesses and other actors realize everyone’s right to safe and healthy working conditions.

Statement of the Special Rapporteur to the 39th Session of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Preparation of the report

In order to elaborate this report the Special Rapporteur has held a broad consultative process with States, international organizations, civil society, and other stakeholders.

A questionnaire was circulated among States and a call for inputs was shared with international organizations and civil society:

  • Questionnaire to Governments - E | F | S
  • Open call for information - E | S

See below the contributions received for the preparation of this report:


Intergovernmental organization

Civil society  

In this section
Issues in Focus
See also

To access the official independent website of the Special Rapporteur on human rights and hazardous substances, Mr. Baskut Tuncak, please visit: http://www.srtoxics.org

Follow the Special Rapporteur: @SRtoxics

In Memoriam