Human Rights and Health: Opportunities to Advance Rural Occupational Health
International journal of occupational and environmental health 2011 Jan-Mar; 17(1): 80-92
Human rights norms principally apply to governments, setting out state obligations and citizen entitlements to a range of social and material claims, whereas the highest ethical standards of occupational health professionals (OHPs) are outlined in ethical codes. Human rights discourse is rarely used to shape professional standards for health and safety. Yet there is much potential for synergy by applying human rights approaches to workplace health and safety and professional ethics. A review of international treaties confirms an extensive articulation of the right to workplace health and safety. A case study of pesticide exposure risks to small farmers in developing countries illustrates the links between human rights, occupational health practice, and professional ethics. OHPs have a responsibility to assist in the realization of workers' occupational health rights, particularly by promoting meaningful participation of those affected by hazardous exposures. Human rights approaches may assist the prevention of work-related morbidity.
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