Brazil: Worker Engagement Program to Improve Health and Safety Issues
This groundbreaking program will engage workers in Brazil to address root causes of health and safety issues in factories, using mobile technology, internal team building and effective change management.
In October 2012, Social Accountability International (SAI) developed the Brazil Worker Engagement Program to help Brazilian factories improve health and safety in the workplace. The program blends dynamic elements– change management methodologies and mobile technology – with SAI’s management systems-based approach to improve workplace conditions. Disney provided the program’s founding grant and other partners include the Rapid Results Institute, Labor Link, and the Cahn Group LLC.
Over the past decade, it has become clear that auditing alone cannot drive the positive change needed to improve the fair treatment and dignity of workers. Social performance management systems are key elements in the capacity building process. They are needed to address the issues that are found during the audits and to drive positive change in a workplace.
The program will:
The program will work in four phases:
The program will work in phases to reach key outcomes: 1) listen to workers’ voices; 2) establish complaint management and resolution systems and communication channels needed to sustain the improvement process throughout and after the program’s conclusion; 3) generate immediate and sustainable measurable improvements in occupational health and safety; and 4) form and empower an Internal Social Performance Team at each factory, consisting of workers and managers to manage future improvement projects.
“To create sustainable improvements in working conditions, we need to go beyond training,” said SAI Director of Corporate Programs & Training, Craig Moss. “This program will help to drive immediate improvements in a factory around health and safety, while laying the foundation for ongoing improvement. Each factory will have a trained team that knows how to run a Rapid Results project to achieve measurable success. The initial program ends with a sustainability workshop and town hall at each factory so workers and managers can collectively select the next improvement goal.”
As the world’s sixth largest economy, Brazil is growing at a rapid pace. However, too often this rapid growth is characterized by harsh realities for workers in the very workplaces that are main contributors to the economic growth. Constant downward price pressure, and the risk of companies shifting production from country to country, can result in workforces being rapidly scaled up or down to meet the demand without consideration of labor laws. For workers, especially migrant workers, having a channel to communicate unsafe or indecent working conditions is a huge challenge.
Thanks to the support of Disney, SAI is able to provide this extensive program at no cost to the participating Brazilian companies. SAI will begin accepting applications from companies located in the Sao Paulo area in November and December 2012. Approximately 50 companies will be selected. The program will be run in three waves in the second and third quarters of 2013.
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For more information, contact SAI Senior Manager Jane Hwang – Jhwang@sa-intl.org.