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Do Economic Problems at Home Undermine Worker Safety Abroad?: A Panel Study, 1980–2009

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... Although trade openness can reduce the worst forms of work such as child labour and forced labour (Neumayer & De Soysa, 2005;Neumayer & De Soysa, 2007), it does not always lead to an improvement in working conditions or a reduction of undesirable social impacts (Davies & Voy, 2009;Doytch et al., 2014;Mosley & Uno, 2007). It has been proven that there is a net flow of bad labour conditions from developing to developed regions due to the production of internationally traded goods (Alsamawi et al., 2017a;Lim & Prakash, 2017;Simas et al., 2014;Xiao et al., 2017). ...
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Multinational corporations (MNEs) have been at the forefront of the geographical disintegration of production chains in search of lower salaries, among other reasons, which led to a global race to the bottom in labour standards. Therefore, significant amounts of indecent work are currently embodied in MNEs' global value chains, compromising not only the brands' corporative image but also the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this work, we shed light on this matter by estimating the indecent-work-conditions related impacts linked to the foreign activities of MNEs from the United States. Using a socially extended MRIO model that integrates three social indicators (forced labour, fatal and nonfatal occupational injuries), we found that these activities show increasing trends between 2009 and 2013 on indecent labour, contributing with 1.1%-1.3% of the global cases. United States affiliates located in India, China and Brazil, show the highest ratios per unit of value-added.
... Yet apparel production also creates incentives for factory owners and managers to ignore safety and structural problems and limit compensation to a bare minimum (Barrientos et al. 2011;Bartley et al. 2015;Berliner et al. 2015b;Locke 2013). When a surplus of low-skilled workers exists (Rudra 2002;Milner and Rudra 2015), or when economic downturns lead to reduced demand in key consumer markets (Lim and Prakash 2017), the consequences for workers may be even more severe. These perils often are exacerbated by the domestic political situations in apparel-producing countries (Adolph et al. 2017;Mosley 2011). ...
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Most research on private governance examines the design and negotiation of particular initiatives or their operation and effectiveness once established, with relatively little work on why firms join in the first place. We contribute to this literature by exploring firms’ willingness to participate in two recent, high-profile private initiatives established in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza disaster in the Bangladesh ready-made garment (RMG) sector: the Accord on Building and Fire Safety and the Alliance for Worker Safety in Bangladesh. Using novel shipment-level data from U.S. customs declarations, we generate a set of firms that were “eligible” to join these remediation initiatives. We are able to positively attribute only a minority of US RMG imports from Bangladesh to Accord and Alliance signatories. Firms with consumer-facing brands, publicly-traded firms, and those importing more RMG product from Bangladesh were more likely to sign up for the Accord and Alliance. Firms headquartered in the USA were much less likely to sign onto remediation plans, especially the Accord.
... We use data from Mosley (2011): the dataset provides information on policies protecting workers' rights and violations of such policies. Lim and Prakash (2017) demonstrate that stronger workers' rights tend to mitigate the adverse impact of economic shocks on worker safety. Therefore, any weakening in governments' efforts to protect workers' rights should be detrimental to safety during economic downturns. ...
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Sanctions restrict or terminate economic relations between two or more countries, directly and negatively influencing sanctioned countries’ companies. We argue that sanctions are similar to recessions—both reduce economic activity in affected countries. Less economic activity results in a lower accident risk as companies use their productive facilities less. Reduced revenues also force companies to adjust by cutting costs, which includes spending on safety. Hence, accident damage should increase under sanctions. Governments can intervene by enforcing safety regulations, and their incentives to do so are stronger in democracies, where citizens can more easily remove politicians from office. Therefore, accident damage increases only in nondemocratic countries, while democracies succeed in maintaining technological safety and hence sanctions do not affect accident damage.
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The “Belt and Road” Initiative creates great opportunities open to Chinese International Construction Enterprises (ICEs). Compared with domestic projects, foreign projects are facing complicated external environment. The personal safety of engineers threatened by terrorism, contagious disease, kidnap, etc. The probability of personal safety risk also increases dramatically. Africa, as one of the regions with most frequent foreign economic and trade exchanges in China, has signed a great number of construction projects with ICEs. Every year millions of engineers and labors heading for Africa. However, the serious condition of frequent accident in labor personnel safety needs close attention as construction industry has been universally regarded as one of the most dangerous industries in the world. Therefore, this paper identified the personnel security risks faced by ICEs staff in Africa to illuminating the importance and urgency of overseas labor safety issues. Mixed methods are utilized to analysis risk events and risk factors. Finally, this paper identified three risk events(armed conflict event, criminal crime event, disease and accidental injury event) from case study and 36 risk factors are from politics, economy, society and culture, natural environment, contractor enterprises and engineering personnel themselves.
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Introduction: Fall from height is one of the main causes of death in the construction workers. Therefore, this study aimed to identify and prioritize of factors affecting falls from height accidents in construction industry. Material and method: A descriptive-analytical study was conducted on five constructional projects in South Pars industrial region, in Iran. All of the reported events from 2011 to 2015 years were investigated and 74 out of 377 occupational accidents were considered as falls from height accidents. The identified factors and sub-factors were divided into 3 main factors including individual, organizational and environmental factors and 14 sub-factors based on the experts' opinion. Then, AHP method was used to determine and prioritize of the factors and sub-factors. Results: The results of hierarchical analysis of fall from height accidents causes showed that environmental, individual, and organizational factors with weights of 0.359, 0.351, and 0.290 were in the first, second, third priorities, respectively. Also, among all examined sub-factors, work platform elevation, mental/occupational stresses and safety culture were the highest priority, respectively. Conclusion: Paying attention to strategies that enhance the safety culture of employees and reduce their occupational stress levels in the workplace can be very effective in preventing of fall from height accidents. Keywords: Construction projects; Hierarchical analysis; Fall from height; Accident management.
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The 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse was the worst industrial accident in the history of the apparel industry. The tragedy occurred in the context of decades of sometimes violent industrial relations in Bangladesh. The policy response included a change in Bangladeshi labor law, international buyer-coordinated building inspections, tariff penalties, and attempts at improved social dialogue coordinated by international buyers, unions, the Bangladeshi government, and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Analyses based on historiography, statistical analysis of World Bank Enterprise Surveys, and semi-structured interviews indicate that there was a structural break in industrial relations as a consequence of the tragedy at Rana Plaza and subsequent policy reform. The initial response by factory managers reflected the historical tension between labor and management in Bangladesh. The subsequent policies increased receptivity to compliance with safety inspections and technical labor standards. However, resistance remains to the protection of foundational labor rights.
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