Occupational Safety and Health in Latin America and the Caribbean: Overview, Issues and Policy Recommendations.

Jul 2002
This policy brief addresses safety and security in the workplace in Latin America and the Caribbean. Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) issues have received little attention in Latin America and the Caribbean due to the widespread, and culturally rooted, lack of awareness regarding the importance of a safe and healthy work environment, and to the weakness of the institutions responsible for the promotion and enforcement of better working conditions. Work-generated illnesses, injuries and deaths are often seen as an unintended consequence, a negative externality, of the production process. This paper will present and discuss in detail the dimension of the occupational safety and health problem in the region. The next section analyzes the specific characteristics of Latin American and Caribbean economies and institutions that determine the high exposure to occupational hazards faced by the workers of the region. As discussed in the final section of this paper, there are several non-mutually exclusive policy mechanisms and instruments that can be implemented to deal with occupational safety and health problems.