Background on stress, work and illness

…in Brazil
Thanks in part to earlier trade union pressure, occupational health and safety issues are recognised. Even some employers see them as important. The state, often in collaboration with employers, has produced a flood of laws and regulations. A recent book about state-labour relations in Brazil, Drowning in Laws, suggests both the abundance of labour legislation and its suffocating effects. According to the ILO, Brazil has one of the world’s most comprehensive set of laws on occupational health and safety.

These institutions have been present for decades, yet health problems persist. Actual incidence of occupational illness is poorly-known. An estimated 80 percent of work-related illnesses go unreported to the National Institute of Social Security (INSS) and only 43 percent of Brazilian workers are registered with the INSS. Existing data also shows that stress-related disorders make up the majority of occupational diseases and reached in some sectors more than a portion of 60 percent. Additionally, it seems that women are far more affected: in the food industry 90 percent of affected workers are women. According to a study in the state of Espirito Santo 73,5 percent of all affected workers are women, which is mainly due to the poor working conditions of sectors as the food industry where the majority of workers are women. However the real extent of the problem remains unclear, as existing data is either incomplete for certain sectors or not available for unions or the public.

Vida Viva

Education & exchange in Germany

What is Vida Viva about?

Who is involved in Vida Viva?

What have we done?

What can you do?

Do you want to read more?


Vida Viva in Brazil

Background on Brazil’s economy

…and the labour market

Background on stress, work and illness
…and gender
…in Brazil

Background on Brazil’s labour movement
… and industrial relations
… unions and health

Conclusion: unions, work and health

Vida Viva in Mozambique

Vida Viva in Germany


Expo - chemical worker

Choclate factory

Expo-agro workers

Leaflet December 2006

Leaflet January 2007

Leaflet February 2007

Introduction magazine
of Vida Viva

Brochure on work quality

Health & safety guide

Mapping guide English