Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

The ILO’s Safety and Health in Mines Convention: Reframing the Scope of Obligations for a Sustainable World

Document type Article
Author Hi̇lgert, Jeffrey
Journal Alternatives :Turkish Journal Of International Relations
Volume 14
Date 2015
ISSN 2146-0809
Pages 59-69


On March 23, 2015 the Turkish government ratified ILO Convention No. 176, the international labour convention concerning occupational safety and health in mines. This multilateral treaty will enter into force for Turkey in 2016. After a lengthy advocacy campaign that received renewed attention after major disasters in the mining industry, more attention is being paid to the implementation of this important ILO convention. Post-ratification application of the convention in the unique Turkish context requires revisiting the obligations of the convention itself. Whether the convention becomes an empty promise to Turkish mine workers or a living document for the protection of worker safety and health remains an open question. Recent recommendations by an ILO technical assistance project raise important questions about the scope of Convention No. 176 and the need for stronger efforts by the Turkish state to achieve reform in the coal mining industry. This article discusses the ILO’s Safety and Health in Mines Convention in light of recent ILO technical assistance work in Turkey. It outlines arguments in favor of a more expanded legal interpretation of the obligations of Convention No. 176 in light of dangerous business practices in the coal mining industry and in light of the global community’s new international consensus on sustainable development