ILO concerned about plight of home workers in Mongolia

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 February, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 February, 2005, 12:00am

Updated at 6.37pm:
The International Labour Organisation said on Tuesday it was concerned about the health and safety of home-based workers in Mongolia.

Home workers in Mongolia usually carry out a range of small-scale manufacturing activities, such as sewing garments, making leather and fur item, knitting, carpentry and processing of food or other raw animal products.

The importance of these issues is increasing in Mongolia as women and children form a growing proportion of labourers in many home-based businesses.

ILO occupational safety and health specialist Tsuyoshi Kawakami said: 'They [Mongol home workers] usually face long hours, unhealthy working positions, unguarded machinery, chemicals, poor lighting and electrical and fire hazards.'

Dr Kawakami said although there were no accurate statistics, Mongolia had seen an increasing number of reports of work-related illness and accidents in recent years.

He said this was particularly evident in the construction sector and with small enterprises.

On Thursday and Friday, the ILO would organise a meeting to examine Mongolia's progress in occupational safety and health.
This will then be followed by a training programme - 'Work Improvement for Safe Home' hosted by Dr Kawakami.

'This is the first, fundamental step in providing practical support for home workers in Mongolia,' an ILO spokesman said.

Similar training programmes have been successfully applied in Cambodia and Thailand.

Situated in Northern Asia, between China and Russia, Mongolia has its own independent government. It has traditionally depended on agriculture and breeding of livestock, but is also rich in minerals including copper, coal, tin, tungsten, and gold.

Mongolia joined the World Trade Organisation in 1997 and now exports cashmere, minerals, and food products to Russia, the United States, China, Japan, Italy, and other countries.