Occupational health and safety in the least developed countries--a simple case of neglect

J Epidemiol. 2001 Mar;11(2):74-80. doi: 10.2188/jea.11.74.


In many of the least developed countries, working people are significantly exposed to a number of occupational problems that may result in a deterioration of their health, safety and well being. These work-related problems are untenable, not only because of the occupational problems itself but also because of the simultaneous exposure to heat, dusts, noise, organo-chemicals, and biological and environmental pollution. This situation has existed for a long time due to various socio economic,geographical, cultural and local factors. The deteriorating situation of health and safety in the workplace may perhaps exist due to the inadequate resource facilities, economic constraints and lack of opportunity to conduct research and studies on the assessment of exposure-diseases associations. Officials, who are employed by the state, are not able to implement work regulations and labour legislation easily. Generally, they are not professionally trained and expert in the occupational health, industrial hygiene and/or safety fields, and thus, successful application and implementation of control measures are lacking. Steps to control work exposure limits have been ineffective, since national policies have been rare, owing to the multiple obstacles in preventing occupational problems. However, the major focus is on practical solutions to differing workers' needs, consideration of which is very important, depending on the what the industrial entrepreneurs could reasonably to be expected to afford. Why there is a lack of motivation and effort regarding the development of health and safety-this paper explores some important issues, aiming to focus public attention on the legacy of national and international efforts. Examples are likewise given to show the real situation of health and safety in the least developed countries.

MeSH terms

  • Developing Countries*
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Occupational Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Occupational Health*