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Injuries in child laborers in the informal sector in Mexico City, Mexico, 1997.
Public Health Rep 2005 Nov-Dec; 120(6):598-600
In the mid-1990s, I was on a temporary assignment through the Pan American Health Organization to Mexico City. During my assignment, I oversaw a collaborative training program in occupational and environmental epidemiology between the Pan American Health Organization and the Mexican Secretary of Health. Through this training program, one student, Dr. Zoila López Sibaja, developed a pilot project to better characterize work-related injuries to children employed in the informal sector. The growth of the informal employment sector throughout the developing world has the potential to place workers and especially child labor at particularly high risk for work-related injuries. According to the International Labour Organization, in Latin America during the 1990s, the urban informal sector was the primary generator of new jobs. The informal sector is defined by the International Labour Organization as either self-employed workers and their unpaid family members, or workers (either paid or unpaid) in very small businesses (fewer than 5-10 workers), apprentices, contract labor, home workers, and paid domestic workers. The employment conditions of informal workers are based mostly on casual employment relations rather than contractual arrangements with formal labor protections, such as protection under child labor laws. A small but important part of the informal employment sector is street children. Street children is a term used for child laborers who work and live in the street and may or may not maintain contact with their families. Although street children face many health risks ranging from violence to drug use, an important priority is protecting them from working conditions that may damage their health and well-being, especially work-related injuries.
Children; Injuries; Epidemiology; Training; Workers; Worker-health; Risk-factors; Risk-analysis; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-health; Demographic-characteristics; Age-factors; Age-groups; Injury-prevention; Public-health
Sherry L. Baron, MD, Coordinator for Priority Populations and Health Disparities, NIOSH, 4676 Columbia Parkway, MS R-13, Cincinnati, OH 45226
Issue of Publication
Work Environment and Workforce: Special Populations
Public Health Reports
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division