Research

OHS outcomes among international migrant workers 
Last week a group of researchers has published a paper entitled 'Occupational health outcomes among international migrant workers: a systematic review and meta-analysis'in The Lancet Global Health.

Despite there being more than 150 million international migrant workers globally, there is very little data on occupational health outcomes of these workers. Migrant workers are workers employed outside their country of origin, and comprise the largest international migrant group. Popular migrant destinations are high-income countries like North America, northern, southern and western Europe and the Middle East which provide opportunities for work and employment.

However, work and employment in these countries can expose them to long working hours and dangerous working environments which have implications for their health and wellbeing. For example, such workers might be at increased risk of poor mental health outcomes, perinatal mortality, and increased injury compared with native workers, outcomes that are attributable to poor working and living conditions, inadequate labour protection measures, and limited entitlements to health care.

The researchers searched several databases for primary research published between Jan 1, 2008 and Jan 24, 2018 in order to do a systematic review and meta-analysis. They reported occupational health outcomes among international migrant workers, without language or geographical restrictions. They identified 1218 studies; 36 were included in the systematic review (involving 12,168 international migrants) and 18 studies were included in the meta-analysis (involving 7,260 international migrants).

The study provides a comprehensive summary of the burden of occupational morbidity and injury among migrant workers worldwide, and demonstrates the urgent need for greater progress toward universal health coverage and worker rights.

The researchers concluded that international migrant workers are at considerable risk of work-related ill health and injury, and their health needs are critically overlooked in research and policy. Governments, policy makers, and businesses must enforce and improve occupational health and safety measures, which should be accompanied by accessible, affordable, and appropriate health care and insurance coverage to meet the care needs of this important working population.
Read more: Hargreaves, S., Rustage, K., Nellums, L. B., Mcalpine, A., Pocock, N., Devakumar, D., et al (2019). Occupational health outcomes among international migrant workers : a systematic review and meta-analysis. [full text] The Lancet Global Health, (19), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30204-9

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