Issues: Chemical Risk
Where? El Salvador, Nicaragua and Dominican Republic
When? July 2011 - June 2013
According to the ILO, over 400,000 workers die every year worldwide as a result of exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace. In Latin America, it is estimated that the number of work-related deaths is 240,000 a year, more than half occur in the construction, agriculture, mining and chemical industry sectors.
In Central America, the accident rate in agriculture is five times higher than the European average, between 30% and 35% of workers suffer an accident per year, mostly from exposure to chemicals used in agriculture.
This Project seeks to contribute to improving workers’ and their organizations’ capacities to act against chemical hazards, promoting the sound management of chemicals in the workplace and their intervention in national policy on chemicals.
Through the development of a number of activites that include a survey of trade unions’ specific needs, the development of training activities, the creation spaces for dialogue and exchange, awareness rising among workers, etc, the project seeks:
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Workers in El Salvador, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic receive intensive distance training and serve in their countries as multipliers of this knowledge
The country has a significant regulatory framework in place with regard to occupational health and safety. Nevertheless, there is a low level of compliance on behalf of companies and the Ministry of Labour has a diminished capacity to act in this area
Precarious working conditions compound the existing difficult social situation of the country, that results in half of all workers handling or being exposed to chemicals - more than 40% of these without any protection
Civil society groups attending the Rotterdam Convention conference in Geneva are expressing grave alarm that the Convention has been hijacked by the asbestos industry, which is determined to prevent the environmental and health protections of the Convention from being implemented.
Today in Geneva the inclusion of the substance in the list of hazardous substances that needed to be monitored for export is discussed. 7 countries are blocking: Kazakhstan, Krgyzstan, Ukraine, Russia, India, Zimbabwe and Vietnam.
Threats to workers' health and safety from hazardous chemical exposure poses a significant concern in Central America and the Caribbean
The decision was adopted in response to EU Commission consultation on unconventional fossil fuels in Europe