The annual global death toll from accidents at work far outstrips that accrued in acts of war or terrorism, but the phenomenon struggles to command anything like the prominence of these traditional priorities of international security in global politics. Whilst the 'securitization' of many non-military issues, such as climate change and disease, has come to be accepted in some sections of the academic and 'real' political world, this status has very rarely been granted to workplace accidents. This seems to be because of the perception that a) accidental deaths cannot be equated to deaths inflicted directly by enemies (including non-human ones) and b) protecting workers is a domestic rather than international political concern.
Protecting people against such accidents, though, is a legal and political task which has been accepted by industrialized governments from as far back as the late nineteenth century when 'social security' policies began to evolve in response to changing economic and social conditions. Equally, incidents of workers in Less Developed Countries being killed are no longer unfortunate problems unconnected with the relatively safe lives of people in the global North since developed world consumers are functionally connected to these systemic failures as never before. This paper therefore presents the case for the international community to adopt a human security approach which allows for worker safety to be given the international political priority it deserves.Business Law Review