The UN General Assembly adopted by consensus a political declaration on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on 20 September 2011. Among a long list of actions on curbing the global epidemic of NCDs, the heads of state call upon the private sector “to promote and create an enabling environment for healthy behaviours among workers, including by establishing tobacco-free workplaces and safe and healthy working environments through occupational safety and health measures, including, where appropriate, through good corporate practices, workplace wellness programmes and health insurance plans”.

See full text of the adopted declaration at

Also the Report of the UN Secretary General to the General Assembly highlighted the link between NCDs and occupational health and recommended action by private sector:

“Non-communicable diseases and occupational health

65. Part of the burden of non-communicable diseases is attributable to occupational risk factors including exposure to chemical, physical, biological, ergonomic and psychosocial hazards at work. Regulation to prevent exposure to such hazards must be implemented as necessary. Multisectoral action, including monitoring by concerned social partners, is critical to reinforce implementation of national policies on health at work.”

See full text at

This is a very important leverage for our work at the NIOH, as public health specialists, on developing and implementing comprehensive programmes and initiatives for healthy workplaces and on the national action plans on workers’ health and as well as to our activities on work-related  cancer, asthma, COPD, cardio-vascular diseases and HBV immunization.

For a recent WHO activity related to this agenda please see the outcome of the Asturias conference, which brought about important arguments about action on occupational and environmental determinants of NCDs