Global Ranking Reveals Emerging Economies As EHS Hot Spots

Jan. 13, 2010
Businesses with manufacturing bases, extractive operations or agricultural interests in emerging economies need to pay particular attention to EHS, according to new research released by Maplecroft, a UK firm that assesses global risks for business.

The Health and Safety Risk Index (HSRI) measured levels of risk to occupational health and safety in 176 countries and found that with the exception of South Korea, all the BRICs nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and N11 countries, (Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Iran, Philippines, Egypt, Mexico and Turkey) are rated at extreme or high risk.

The HSRI has been developed to assess and compare health and safety risk worldwide. It scores countries on their performance across eight indicators, including: work-related fatalities and accidents, number of accidents causing work absences, number of deaths from work-related diseases, expenditure on health, life expectancy, government effectiveness, regulatory quality and the total number of ILO (International Labour Organisation) conventions ratified.

Nine countries were assigned to the extreme risk category: DR Congo, Nigeria, Ehtiopia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, India, Tanzania and Indonesia. Vietnam rounded out the top 10 highest-risk countries, but was assigned to the high risk category.

The issue is of particular importance to multinational employers in these countries, because a healthy and safe work force ensures better productivity, less absenteeism, less need to replace and train workers, improved morale and ultimately, a more efficient and profitable business.

“A safe and healthy working environment is vital,” said Professor Alyson Warhurst, chief executive of Maplecroft, “Organizations should ensure that best practice is observed not only in their own operations, but throughout their supply chains, to increase competitive advantage and reduce the risk of complicity in human and labor rights violations.”

The United States was listed as medium risk. Of the top 20 least at-risk nations, 17 are from Europe, with Denmark (176), Luxembourg (175), Switzerland (174), Sweden (173) and Finland (172) leading the way.

The HSRI is available online and is accompanied by an interactive map. Data sources include the ILO, World Health Organisation and World Bank. To see the map or inquire about pricing for the study, visit

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