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These are the most dangerous countries to work in

In many regions of the world, workplace safety has increased dramatically over the past two decades, ensuring healthy work environments for many employees. As demonstrated by the collapse of Rana Plaza, a nine-story building in Bangladesh that houses several garment factories largely related to the fast fashion industry, ten years ago, there is still much room for improvement. Research cited by the International Labor Organization (ILO) suggests that in 2017 alone, 2.8 million people died and another 374 million people suffered non-fatal injuries in their line of work.

As Statista’s Florian Zandt details below, according to ILO data, Costa Rica currently has the highest number of occupational accidents with 9,421 non-fatal occupational accidents and 9.7 fatal occupational accidents per 100,000 workers. in 2016. For decades, the country’s economy relied heavily on agriculture and tourism. Since the turn of the millennium, manufacturing and industry have overtaken the agricultural sector, with companies such as Intel or Procter & Gamble investing heavily in the country. According to media reports, Intel’s microprocessor installation was responsible for five percent of total GDP and 20 percent of all Costa Rican exports in 2006.

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Anecdotal evidence from other countries suggests that the aforementioned focus on industry and manufacturing may also be responsible for the high number of fatal workplace injuries. Although Costa Rica does not provide disaggregated data on fatal injuries by economic activity, Mexico and Turkey, which rank ninth and tenth in terms of non-fatal injuries, as well as second and third in terms of fatal occupational injuries, do. In Mexico, for example, of the 806 work-related deaths, 118 people died in manufacturing, 76 in construction, and 86 in the transportation and storage sector. Turkey recorded 386 construction deaths, 297 manufacturing deaths and 258 transportation and storage deaths out of a total of 1,394.

Nations known for their textile industries such as Pakistan and Portugal also top the list of countries with the most workplace accidents per 100,000 workers. Although independent auditors regularly check and sign off on labor practices and working conditions in the fashion industries of the countries mentioned above, the reality is often far more dire than official assessments suggest. A 2019 report by the NGO Human Rights Watch on Pakistan’s garment workers, for example, notes that companies do not pay their employees the minimum wage, lack of written contracts, dismissals of pregnant women, and deductions wages for sick days.

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