Occupational Health and Safety of Migrant Workers: An International Concern

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Vulnerable workers : health, safety and well-being, 2011, 1, pp. 121 - 144
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While it is estimated that over 175 million or 3% of the worlds population live outside their country of origin, there is still a lack of documented evidence on the health and safety of migrant workers. In response to this lack of evidence, an international, collaborative research team has begun to investigate the health and safety of migrant workers and in particular, address the inherent methodological issues, by undertaking a number of exploratory studies located in different countries, within different jurisdictions and focusing primarily on small businesses. The examples presented in the paper indicate that migrant workers are more likely to be located in small, sub-contracting businesses in most all sectors, including service (particularly, hospitality, cleaning and retail), construction, and manufacturing industries as well as in the agricultural and horticulture sectors, thus representing both rural and urban settings. In the paper we argue that it is more useful to begin at the level of the individual and the workplace and from there develop a research design model that can be applied to further studies located within other jurisdictions and settings. By undertaking research at the level of the worker and the workplace, it is hoped that deficiencies in the management of the health and safety of migrant workers will be exposed.
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