BESIX is committed to making health and safety at work a fundamental right

6 September 2021

BESIX Group commits itself together with the Belgian trade unions and the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) to support the recognition of health and safety at work as a fundamental right by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The Declaration on Healthy and Safe Workplaces was signed by the management of BESIX Group and representatives of the BESIX European Works Council [1], the FGTB and the CSC.

Pierre Sironval (Deputy CEO), Geert Aelbrecht (Chief People Officer), Frédéric de Schrevel (Secretary General - General Counsel - Group CSR Officer)

The importance of safety and health at work is already reflected in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as well as in the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. By making it a fundamental right, the ILO will be able to support the implementation of better working conditions for all on a global scale.

For more than a decade, BESIX Group has made occupational health and safety one of its key objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) in its operational activities and reports on its achievements every two years. In addition, most of the Group's entities are also ISO 45001 certified and BESIX has become a certified IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) training centre.

Ambet Yuson, BWI General Secretary: "No one has to risk their health, their physical integrity or even their life to work. We call on trade unions and companies to work together to set high occupational health and safety targets for safer workplaces in terms of health and safety. We call on the International Labour Organization to make these issues a fundamental right, which will help to address deplorable occupational health and safety practices in some countries of the world and by some companies. The BWI is pleased to be able to count once again on the support of BESIX Group and the representatives of the group' s European Works Council, the FGTB and the CSC. Together, we are contributing to building a better world for construction workers."
Pierre Sironval, Deputy CEO of BESIX Group: "Since 2017 and the signing of an international framework agreement, BESIX Group, its trade union representatives and the BWI have been moving forward hand in hand to ensure and promote high international standards of well-being in the workplace. The Declaration for Safe and Healthy Workplaces is a further step we are proud of: health and safety is a priority for BESIX Group and its subsidiaries in each of the countries where we operate."

Occupational health and safety is a priority policy for BESIX Group on each of its construction sites around the world, starting with each employee or worker and calling on the responsibility of each individual on a daily basis to ensure the quality of his or her working life and that of his or her colleagues, including when employed by partners and suppliers on site.

BESIX Group goes even beyond the usual safety measures. Such is the case, for example, with the BE SAFE programme, which follows a positive and behavioural approach to safety and which has demonstrated in recent years the relevance of empowerment and mutual support on the site to improve the quality of life at work.

BWI is a global union federation of 351 unions from 127 countries, representing around 12 million workers. The international framework agreement signed in 2017 aims to promote the well-being and safety of people on site, for BESIX Group, for the group’s subsidiaries and project partners.

An independent mechanism allows to monitor BESIX Group's human rights practices, with free access of BWI to construction sites and housing for migrant workers. In this context, BWI and the BESIX European Works Council have organised missions to Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco in recent years, securing effective monitoring of BESIX Group compliance and efforts in health and safety at work.

[1] A European Works Council is a body of employer’ and employees representatives of a group of companies operating on a European scale.