Economic and Health Effects of Occupational Hazards in Latin America and the Caribbean

May 2001
This study describes the health dimension and some economic aspects of occupational safety in Latin America and the Caribbean. The study is the result of a joint effort by the IDB's Region 3 and Sustainable Development Departments which was undertaken to identify the major trends and issues related to improving occupational safety in Latin America and the Caribbean. It shows that the region has a very high disease burden in this area, and that economic patterns of employment and public regulatory responses make these health problems more acute than in Europe or North America. The paper was discussed at an IDB conference entitled "International Conference on Occupational Safety and Health" in June 2000, and served to draw attention to these important issues. The study provides a firm grounding from which to address the dearth of policies in occupational safety, and it will help guide future IDB activities in this sector. It represents one modest step along the way to a future of safer working conditions and better health in the region.