Economics

In the News

Constraints on development, and injuries to young workers

Penny Brooks

3rd May 2018

It can be hard to find concrete examples of some of the constraints on development which give evidence of the economic impact of lack of years in schooling, and the low acquisition of human capital, as well as the effect of low regulation and poor governance in LEDC's. This item on the BBC website offers both, and analyses the tragic consequences for young workers in developing economies. Using some dreadfully sad data from the UN's International Labour Organisation, the article looks as the reasons why every single day more than a million people have a serious accident or injury at work - whether in falls on badly regulated building sites or from using dangerous machinery in factories. Many of them are young and inexperienced workers, and if young people are breadwinners and are injured, they may no longer be able to work and support their family.

Guy Ryder, director general of the ILO, says: "152 million children, who should be in school, are working. And almost half of those children are engaged in hazardous work." They may be using dangerous, toxic chemicals, but cannot read the safety warnings on the labels. They may be migrant workers who don't speak the language of their employer, or because they are the youngest workers and therefore new to the workplace, they haven't been trained in the work processes and dangers.

In reponse to the Millennium Development Goals in the past two decades, access to schools has widened in many parts of the world, resulting in a strong global trend for the number of young people in work to be reduced. Correspondingly, child labour, workers below the legal minimum age, has also fallen sharply - down by about 90 million between 2000 and 2016, according to monitoring figures from the ILO.

But the level of injuries remains high - and the report warns that every day there are 37 million teenagers going to work in hazardous conditions that are more accidents waiting to happen.

Penny Brooks

Formerly Head of Business and Economics and now Economics teacher, Business and Economics blogger and presenter for Tutor2u, and private tutor

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