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June 2, 2011
NIOSH Update:

Practices to Protect Youth, Children From Hazardous Work Are Shared At Workshop Hosted By NIOSH, Partners

Contact: Fred Blosser, (202) 245-0645

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the U.S. Department of Labor, in partnership with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), hosted a workshop today in Washington, D.C., on good practices to protect children and youth from hazardous work, in support of the World Day Against Child Labour.

The one-day workshop -"Creating Safe Futures" - brought together professionals in occupational safety and health and youth employment to seek ways to collaborate in eliminating hazardous work of children and youth worldwide.

The aim of the June 2 workshop was to strengthen and expand current initiatives globally to prevent young children from being drawn into hazardous work and to protect youth of legal working age from exploitative and dangerous conditions. The workshop allowed participants to share good practices and strategies used around the world to combat hazardous child labor through education, engagement, empowerment, and enforcement. The workshop was designed to be the impetus for introducing occupational health and safety language into international applications for funding, producing a publication highlighting key practices, and developing new partnerships.

In the U.S., an estimated 146,000 young workers 15- to 17-years old are likely to sustain occupational injuries and illnesses each year. In 2009, 27 youths under the age of 18 died from work-related injuries. NIOSH and its partners conduct strategic research and outreach to prevent such injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. NIOSH’s global partnerships leverage the use of NIOSH resources to help the partner agencies further youth and child safety abroad. The partnerships also provide NIOSH with information and experience that it can use in furthering good practices in the U.S.

ILO launched the first World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 as a way to highlight the plight of children who are engaged in labor that is mentally, physically, socially, or morally dangerous or harmful, interferes with their schooling, and in extreme forms, includes enslavement, separation from their families, and exposure to serious hazards and illnesses. The day, which is observed on June 12, is intended to serve as a catalyst for the growing worldwide movement against these forms of child labor, reflected in the huge number of ratifications of ILO Convention No. 182 on the worst forms of child labor, and ILO Convention No. 138 on the minimum age for employment.

According to ILO Convention No. 182, hazardous work is a worst form of child labor, alongside slavery, prostitution and illicit activities, and must be addressed "as a matter of urgency," using "immediate, comprehensive, and effective measures." More than half of all child laborers worldwide engage in hazardous work, while it continues to increase among older children ages 15 to 17, jumping from 52 million to 62 million in four years. Most nations of the world have ratified this Convention and are therefore bound by it.

More information about NIOSH research for preventing occupational injuries, illnesses, and death among working youth can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/youth/. More information about NIOSH’s global collaborations can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh/programs/global/.

 
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