Brazilian Ministry of Labor's inspection on workers' safety and health, Brazil, 1996-2012

Fernando Donato Vasconcelos About the author


even with high rates of death and disability, occupational injuries and diseases are "neglected health problems" in Brazil.


to study the Brazilian Ministry of Labor's performance concerning occupational safety and health (OSH) in the period 1996-2012, with emphasis to 2011.


documents produced by the Federal System for Labor Inspection related to the labor inspections of OSH standards were analyzed, especially those requiring detailed inspections and longer presence at worksites. The study also compares targeted areas of inspection with higher work-related disability and mortality indicators.


OSH actions were taken by 785 inspectors (25,1% of the staff). We have identified changes in the OSH inspection profiles with increased number of penalties due to serious and eminent health and life risks. It was found that inspections were not inclusive enough and did not address sectors presenting the highest mortality and disability rates as result of occupational injuries.


the present institutional model exceedingly attenuates OHS acting in labor inspection procedures. It does not take into account areas that show the worst occupational morbimortality indicators and keeps a very small staff of auditors fully dedicated to OSH. These inspectors work in a limited material and budgetary infrastructure, and, not rarely, lack proper technical training.

workers' health; safety at work; labor inspection; occupational injuries

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