Title

Globalization and Workplace Hazards in Developing Nations

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-2009

ISSN

0925-7535

Publisher

Elsevier

Language

en-US

Abstract

Multinational corporations are rapidly introducing hazardous technological activities into less-developed nations. There is considerable evidence that this feature of global commerce poses risks to health, safety and natural resources, and most immediately endangers the workers involved. The less-developed nations hosting these activities are vulnerable to exploitation of their human resources because they lack the safeguards, expertise, and public pressures that prevent harms to workers in developed nations. This paper presents an evaluation of approaches taken by international and industrial organizations to address workplace hazards by soft law, hard law, codes of conduct, and voluntary self-regulation. Finding that these approaches have repeatedly failed, a new approach is presented for the purpose of assuring that the transfer of technology will be accompanied by the transference of practices for using it safely. The key features of this approach are then considered: defining a standard of care which aims to provide equivalent treatment of worker health and safety across all nations, irrespective of their level of development, and establishing contractual relationships between multinational companies and host countries as a feasible means of implementing the standard and achieving equivalent treatment.

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