Rural policy briefs

Promoting rural development through occupational safety and health

Most people in rural areas face particularly poor and hazardous working conditions coupled with a lack of social protection. Integrated approaches that include promoting rural workers’ health and safety are fundamental to ensure decent and productive lives and boost rural development.

This action-oriented, synthetic leaflet is providing guidance to practitioners on how to drive safety and health at work through rural growth. It presents the facts and figures while it underlines why action is needed.

The policy brief lays out three main policy options: establishing a preventive culture of occupational safety and health (OSH) in rural areas; promoting OSH in rural areas; and improving OSH in micro- and small rural enterprises (including informal businesses). These measures to improve OSH also increase the productivity and virtually all of them can be implemented at low cost.

The brochure highlights the major occupational hazards in agriculture, risk assessment in agriculture, and participatory workplace OSH mechanisms. The Work Improvement in Small Enterprises (WISE) and Work Improvement in Neighbourhood Development (WIND) programmes are also briefly described. Last but not least, the role of the ILO is outlined.