Free trade and occupational health policy: an argument for health and safety across the North American workplace

M J McGuinness
Salud Pública de México  
This article considers the argument that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would encourage US and Canadian industry to relocate their hazardous manufacturing operations to Mexico. Proponents of this view believe that this industrial flight south would worsen working conditions in Mexico as well as lower occupational health and safety standards in the US and Canada. In evaluating this argument, the article examines working conditions in US-owned factories in the Mexican maquiladora
more » ... zone, reviews the current occupational health and safety regulatory structure in Mexico, and considers those institutions established by the European Community to protect workers against the flight of hazardous industries. The article concludes that the harmonization of labor norms throughout North American and the establishment of a functional North American regulatory structure following the precedents set by the European Community are necessary steps to ensure that NAFTA does not produce the feared flight of hazardous industries to Mexico nor degrade the health of workers in Mexico, Canada, or the US.
pmid:7892635 fatcat:7j6gsqcfwneabgyu64e7byv2jq