Risky work: Accidents among Nepalese migrant workers in Malaysia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia

Pratik Adhikary, Zoë A Sheppard, Steve Keen, Edwin van Teijlingen

Abstract

Background: Nepal is a growing supplier of migrant labour for factories in Malaysia and building sites in the Middle East. This study assessed the extent of workplace accidents among Nepalese migrant workers in Malaysia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Methododology: A questionnaire survey was conducted at Nepal’s main international airport with men who returned from working in Malaysia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The questionnaire was completed by 403 migrant workers from these three countries. Where possible the questionnaire was self-administered and interview-administered for those migrant workers with poor literacy skills. A logistic regression was conducted to identify factors associated with accidents at work and health risks perceived by migrant workers themselves.

Results: One in six (17%) experienced accidents at work in their host country. This proportion is lower than that reported in previous studies of Nepali migrant workers. Age, country of work, doctor registration and perceived standard of work environment and accommodation are significantly associated with accidents at work.

Conclusion: To help improve Nepalese men’s health and well-being whilst working abroad, host countries and the Government of Nepal should ensure that migrants hold health insurance. Mandatory pre-departure and arrival health and safety training is also recommended as a way to reduce risks to the health of migrant workers.

Keywords

Asia; Host country; Labour; Risk; Accidents; Migrant workers; Middle East

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3126/hprospect.v16i2.18643

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