Reflections on occupational health in Latin America

We all agree that the conditions and the healthy work environments , they are a basic human right that contribute to productivity and creativity, and that respond to the daily demands of products and services. The problem is that in many Latin American countries this basic right is ignored. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) offers some interesting revelations of what is happening in Latin America:


  • Every minute there are 36 occupational accidents in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Approximately 300 workers die daily as a result of occupational accidents .
  • Only 1 to 5% of all cases of occupational diseases are reported in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • The most frequent occupational diseases in Latin America and the Caribbean include: hearing loss (occupational hearing loss), acute pesticides and heavy metals , skin and respiratory diseases.
  • Only 10 to 15% of workers have access to basic occupational health services.
  • In Latin America and the Caribbean, 5.7 million children go to work, mainly in agriculture, mining, garbage dumps, domestic work, fireworks production and fishing.

According to PAHO, developing countries pay an especially high price in deaths and injuries, since a large number of people are employed in dangerous activities such as agriculture, construction, wood industry, fishing and mining. Throughout the world, the poor and the least protected - often women, children and migrants - are the most affected. It is what is defined as job insecurity and that has to do with insecurity at work, the lack of protection of workers' health and the risk of accidents, of suffering illnesses and stress, the lack of Social Security coverage (in the face of unemployment, diseases, maternity or accidents), or excessively long days.

These are the worst aspects of precariousness in Latin America.

Video Medicine: Reflections on Leadership: 21st U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services | Kathleen Sebelius (April 2024).