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Original Research

Occupational Safety and Health in Venezuela

Author:

Yohama Caraballo-Arias

Central University of Venezuela (UCV) and the Associate Venezuelan Group for the Iberoamerican Cochrane Network Foundation Learning and Development on Occupational Health (LDOH), Caracas, Venezuela
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Abstract

Introduction

Venezuela has pioneered a preventive-focused and comprehensive movement for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in Latin America. However, despite being an oil-rich country, it has some of the lowest salaries for their workers and highest levels of hyperinflation, devaluation, crime, and violence of the world.

Objectives

Review the current status and challenges on relevant aspects of OSH in Venezuela.

Methods

Review of literature and documents from national governments, UN agencies, NGOs, and the Venezuelan government concerning OSH and related topics since 1986.

Results

Reformed in 2005, the Organic Law on Prevention, Conditions and Environment (LOPCYMAT) was a fundamental moment of change for OSH. Factors which have impacted OSH the strongest are (i) the creation of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (INPSASEL) and (ii) the socioeconomic crisis Venezuela is going through.

Venezuela's laws are innovative and yet non-compliance is enormous. Almost half of the population works in the informal sector. Following the International Labor Office projections, 5 people die per day in Venezuela due to occupational accidents or diseases, making health and safety at work a luxury rather than a right. The quality of life for the average worker has deteriorated, affecting not only health but the overall well-being of all Venezuelans. The political and socio-economic situation has led to a mass exodus of more than 1.6 million highly qualified and talented professionals. Many statistics concerning OSH are not updated and are unreliable regarding occupational accidents and diseases.

Conclusions

There is a substantial difference between what is written to protect individual Venezuelans in the workplace and the reality of workplace conditions. Substantial governmental actions are needed in the immediate future to improve occupational safety and health of Venezuelan workers.

How to Cite: Caraballo-Arias, Y., 2015. Occupational Safety and Health in Venezuela. Annals of Global Health, 81(4), pp.512–521. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.aogh.2015.08.022
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Published on 17 Dec 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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