Labour inspection is a public service to supervise compliance with all legal provisions for the protection of workers. This is done by regular inspections of workplaces in industry, commerce and agriculture, and in many countries in non-commercial services, by providing advice and information to employers and workers. This service should cooperate with employers' and workers' organizations and should be composed of sufficient qualified staff, including an adequate proportion of women.
Labour inspectors must have the power to enter freely any workplace at any time, interview employers and workers, examine documentation and take samples, order the modification of existing defects or the stoppage of machines or work, and give warnings and advice on proceedings.
The labour inspection service should play an important role in preventing and eliminating discriminatory practices in the workplace. Specifically, it should be ensured that:
• labour inspectors be provided access to the workplace and be freely able to maintain communication with management, as well as with employees of both sexes, if necessary also in the absence of management representatives;
• labour inspectors address workers' education programmes and training courses on all aspects of their duties, and particularly those which involve the elimination of discrimination and the promotion of equal employment opportunities;
• workers be encouraged to contact the labour inspection service for information and explanations on labour law, when problems arise concerning discriminatory practices in employment;
• labour inspectors be informed and trained on all aspects of policies and procedures concerning equal employment opportunities and non-discriminatory treatment, including sexual harassment;
• labour inspectors be recruited from both sexes, be aware of the importance of promoting equality and understand how this relates to their work; if necessary, women inspectors should be in charge of special women's issues;
• records of discriminatory practices in the workplace and measures or notices of redress be included in labour inspection reports.
C. 81: Labour Inspection, 1947, and Protocol, 1995
R. 81: Labour Inspection, 1947
C. 129: Labour Inspection (Agriculture), 1969
R. 133: Labour Inspection (Agriculture), 1969
→ see also Labour administration and Public employment services and private employment agencies