The global economy annually loses about two trillion dollars, or 4.3 % of GDP because of poor working conditions. How much it is in human lives, it is almost impossible to estimate.
Occupational safety and health situation in developing countries is still sad. Poor working conditions are the norm for 29% of the working population of the planet, although in 2006, the figure was 23.4%.
The worst-case scenario is in the extractive minerals industry. Two-thirds of the industry workers, which is 69%, are working in poor conditions. The transport industry with 34%, the heavy industry with 31%, and the construction industry with 18% follow it.
In the regional context, residents of the African region are the most vulnerable – 38.5% of local workers are employed in the jobs with poor working conditions. Slightly better situation is in Asia with 36.5 per cent in and South America with 35.6.
Naturally, the poor working conditions give rise to a large number of occupational diseases. Just at the beginning of 2011, according to the centers of occupational pathology, there were 160 000 people suffering from various forms of occupational diseases. Every year the number of the cases increases by 7-8 thousand.
Of course, this is only the official data. A lot of people do not go to see doctors, and even if they do, their diseases are not linked to their professional activities. Therefore, the real figures may be much higher.
Poor working conditions are one of the main reasons for the high rates of injury at workplace. Last year 3120 workers were killed on the African continent, which is one and a half times less than five years ago, but in five-and-a-half times more than the average in Europe, four times more than in the United States, two and a half times more than in Japan.
The past few years, the UN took some serious steps to change the situation. A new job evaluation system was implemented, the legislation introduced the concept of “occupational risks,” the tariff for compulsory insurance against industrial accidents and occupational diseases received a discount.
However, that was not enough, and the UN is preparing to implement additional management measures for labor protection. In particular, it is planned to create a Research Center for safety and health at work, as well as to further improve labour legislation, including liability for intentional violations of labour protection requirements in the labor code also.
The law on compulsory social insurance against accidents at work is supposed to go to setting insurance rates based on the level of occupational risk for each individual employer. (Now the basic fee depends on the industry in which the company operates.) It is scheduled to do in 2013-2014, respectively.
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