P.O. Box 124, Berkeley, CA 94701-0124 • 510-558-1014 • garrettdbrown@comcast.net

bullet BANGLADESH OHS PROJECTS — new section!
bullet ALTA GRACIA PROJECT — "No Sweat" factory in the DR


The Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network is a volunteer network of 300 occupational safety and health professionals who have placed their names on a resource list to provide information, technical assistance and on-site instruction regarding workplace hazards to worker and community organizations in the developing world. Network members, including industrial hygienists, toxicologists, epidemiologists, occupational physicians and nurses, and health educators among others, are donating their time and expertise to create safer and healthier working conditions for workers employed by transnational corporations around the world.

The Network has expanded its work from Mexico to include projects in Central America, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, China, and now Bangladesh.. Our goal has always been to build the capacity of workers and their organizations to understand occupational health and safety issues and to be able to speak and act in their own name to protect their health and to exercise their rights. Our activities have included providing information and trainings to workers, plant-wide health and safety committees, and to community, human rights and professional associations; technical assistance to workers filing complaints under international trade agreements; and technical information for grassroots organizations monitoring the performance of transnational corporations and government health and safety agencies in the global economy.

The Support Network is not designed to generate, nor is it intended to create, business opportunities for private consultants or other for-profit enterprises. On the contrary, Network participants will be donating their time and knowledge pro bono to workers, community organizations and professional associations.

The Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network was launched in October 1993 at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA). It includes occupational health specialists primarily from Canada, Mexico and the United States who are active in the APHA, American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), National Safety Council (NSC) and the 20-plus local grassroots Committees for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) groups in the U.S. and Canada.

The Support Network is continuously seeking more health and safety professionals and activists to join the network, as well as looking for more worker and community organizations who can make use of the information and technical assistance offered. Please join us!

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“Worker Revolt in Myanmar Smashes garment factory and apparel brands’ false promises,” The Pump Handle, April 10, 2017
“Saving the world, one meaningless buzzword at a time; How corporations, activists and politicians turned the language of human rights into meaningless babble,” Michael Hobbes, Foreign Policy, March 2017
“Report examines grim Bangladesh leather trade, links to West,” Associated Press, March 2017
“Made in China” journal, March 2017
List of OHS Resources for Bangladesh, February-March 2017
Crackdown in Bangladesh
Labor rights organizations’ letter to brands, December 23, 2016
Labor rights organizations’ letter to brands, January 18, 2016
“Government, industry crackdown in Bangladesh threatens health & safety improvements; clothing brands petitioned to respond,” The Pump Handle, January 26, 2017
“How repressive law enforcement crushed minimum wage protests in Bangladesh’s garment sector,” David Bergman and Muktadir Rashid, The Wire, February 2, 2017
“Misconceptions Regarding Mass Arrests and Terminations in Bangladesh,” Worker Rights Consortium, February 4, 2017
“Branded childhood; How garment brands contribute to low wages, long working hours, school dropout and child labour in Bangladesh,” SOMO, et. al., January 2017
ILO Bangladesh Newsletter #6, February 2017
List of OHS Resources for Bangladesh, January–February 2017
“OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains in the Garment and Footwear Sector,” Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, February 2017
“The Myanmar Dilemma; Can the garment industry deliver decent jobs for workers in Myanmar?” SOMO, et. al., February 2017
Occupational Safety and Health Rights newsletter, Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational and Environmental Health Victims (ANROEV), October–December 2016
bullet “Worker Rights Consortium Factory Assessment, Hansae Vietnam Co., Ltd. (Vietnam); Findings, Recommendation, Status Update,” - Workers Rights Consortium, December 6, 2016
bullet “Report of Occupational Health and Safety Audit at Hansae Vietnam Company Limited,” Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network and Alliance Consulting International,” October 21, 2016 (PDF)
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Current Network Newsletter December 2012 (PDF)
Archive of Previous Electronic Newsletters
Subscribe to the Electronic Newsletter
Network's Reading & Resource Lists
Selected Articles and Report on Global Working Conditions, August – November 2010
New resources (reports & articles) Updated January 2011
Archive of old resource lists: 2009 and 2008 & earlier
MHSSN Statement on Iraq and OH&S
List of websites related to global OHS
Key Journal Articles From the Network
bullet “Global supply chains still full of sweatshops,” The Pump Handle, September 21, 2016
bullet "Factory certification schemes pose danger to safety & health profession," Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, May 2013 (PDF – 1.4MB)
bullet "MHSSN Statement on CSR Monitoring of Global Supply Chain Factories" January 2013
bullet "Fatal Flaws of Foreign Factory Audits: 'A spectacular failure' to improve conditions" Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, February 2013 (PDF)
bullet Genuine Worker Participation—An Indipansable Key to Effective Global OH article by Garrett Brown in New Solutions, Vol. 19(3) 2009 (PDF)
“Mexico’s daycare fire: not even babies are protected,” Garrett Brown at “The Pump Handle” blog, July 23, 2009
“Corporate Social Responsibility: The moment of truth arrives,” article by Garrett Brown in the May 2009 Industrial Safety and Hygiene News (also available as a PDF)
“Perils of a schizoid business model "  article by Garrett Brown, in Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, September 2, 2008
“The Two faces of Cal/OSHA" article in the October issue of Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, October 1, 2007
“Corporate Social Responsibility Brings Limited Progress on Workplace Safety in Global Supply Chains" (by Garrett Brown, Occupational Hazards, August 1, 2007)
“Taking a closer look" (by Garrett Brown, Occupational Hazards, May, 1 2007)
“Why Immigrant Workers Are Coming to the U.S., and How We Can and Need to Work Together" (speech by Garrett Brown to the Immigrant Workers in Construction Conference, Center to Protect Workers Rights, Sacramento, CA, on April 12, 2007)
“Immigrant Workers Are Our Allies, Not Our Enemies" (speech by Garrett Brown to the Center to Protect Worker Rights conference in Tijuana, Mexico, on August 15, 2005)
"Speak Out: Portrait of a Failure, NAFTA and Workplace Health and Safety" (by Garrett Brown, The Synergist, August 2004)
"Vulnerable Workers in the Global Economy" (by Garrett Brown, Occupational Hazards, April 2004)
MHSSN and OHS Professional Associations
"MHSSN letter to the National Safety Council's Safety & Health magazine, January 2013." (PDF)
AIHA's The Synergist "Honor Roll" column about MHSSN receiving the 2011 "Social Responsibility" award
AIHA's The Synergist Blog interview with MHSSN Coordinator Garrett Brown
"Now is the time for us to become the leaders we have been waiting for" presentation by MHSSN Coordinator Garrett Brown at WorkSafe Conference on March 25, 2011, in Emeryville, CA; reprinted in New Solutions, 2011 (PDF)
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International Labor Organization (the United Nations' labor research and educational office)
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (research institute for workplace health & safety in the United States)
Duke's OEM Resource Center (a resource rich website for occupational health professionals)
Canadian Centre for Occupational Safety & Health
Asia Workers Institute for Occupational Health, Safety and Environment (Bangkok, Thailand)
Asia Pacific Occupational Safety and Health Organization
Red Fronteriza de Salud y Ambiente, A.C. ("Border Health and Environmental Network" based in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico)
International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA) (international association of 23 professional associations in 21 countries)
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) (regional component of the World Health Organization)
New York Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH, New York City)
WORKSAFE! (A California Coalition for Worker Occupational Safety & Health Protection)
"Hazards" magazine (Sheffield, England)
Hesperian Foundation (a non-profit publisher of community-based health care materials)
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ChemFinder Search Engine
Resources for Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) (Links to numerous MSDS lists via Vermont's Safety Information Resources on the Internet)
International Chemical Safety Cards (A superb initiative to provide easy-to-read safety information on numerous chemicals from the World Health Organization's International Labor Office - better than MSDSs - and in eight languages)
Cornell's MSDS Search Engine
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“What does that $14 shirt really cost?” From the archives: "Bangladesh disaster raises tough questions about cheap clothes," Rosemary Westwood, Maclean’s, May 1, 2013 (PDF)
Periodic list of key media articles and reports on OHS issues in Bangladesh
Major articles and reports
Newsletters of the International Labor Organization Dhaka Office
Selected list of 2016 articles and reports
Selected list of 2015 articles and reports
Selected list of articles and reports before 2015
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ALTA GRACIA PROJECT — "No Sweat" factory in the DR
Alta Gracia factory follow-up report, MHSSN health and safety inspection, February 2011 (PDF)
“No sweat”: In the Dominican Republic article by Garrett Brown in Industrial Safety and Hyg October 1, 2010
bullet “No-Sweat” Factory in Dominican Republic Focuses on Worker Safety article in the newsletter "Bridges" from COEH (Center for Occupational & Environmental Health), UC Berkeley, Summer 2010
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Global Electronics Factories in Spotlight  article by Garrett Brown in the Occupational Health & Safety Magazine, August 4, 2010
Worker Suicides At Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China — Supplier for Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard June 2010
Dozens of Cancer Deaths At Samsung Electronics Plants in Korea — Young Workers Die In “Cancer Factories” June 2010
Electronics: Poster Child of the 21st Century Sweatshops and Despoiler of the Environment? article by Garrett Brown in EHS Today, September 2009 (PDF)
Selected List of Reports on Working Conditions in the Global Electronics Industry
Selected List of Organizations and Current Campaign in the Global Electronics Industry
iene News,
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Secretaría del Trabajo y Prevision Social (STPS)  (Mexico's Department of Labor. Occupational health and safety regulations a click away)
NAFTA Labor Secretariat in Washington, DC
Mexican Law (ForInt-Law - Mexico, an excellent resource to the Mexican Constitution, and government and laws of Mexico; from Washburn University School of Law Library)
National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade (a business-oriented free trade support research center which has useful info)
Bureau of International Labor Affairs (Labor news and issues from around the world including Mexico from a U. S. Department of Labor agency)
Guide to Mexican Environmental Law
Interagency Coordinating Committee for U.S./Mexico Border Environmental Health (A U. S. EPA initiative to identify and address environmental health issues along the U.S.-Mexico border)
"MexRegs" (commercial newsletter and database)
"Speak Out: Portrait of a Failure, NAFTA and Workplace Health and Safety" (by Garrett Brown, The Synergist, August 2004)
Key NAFTA 10th Anniversary Reports
NAFTA’s 10 Year Failure to Protect Mexican Workers’ Health and Safety (by Garrett Brown, December 2004) (PDF)
Presentation of Ingrid Zubieta of UCLA LOSH on the Cananea mine project at the national meeting of National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in October 2009 (PDF)
Cananea Copper Mine: An International OHS Project  (PDF) article in the January 2009 issue of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health (IJOEH)
“International OHS Through the Looking Glass of the Global Economy" article by Garrett Brown, in Occupational Hazards, January 1, 2008
“Health and Safety Report from Cananea, Mexico, Copper Mine"
Final Report (PDF)
Versión en Español (PDF)
Photographs of workplace health and safety hazards at Grupo Mexico's Cananea copper mine, October 7, 2007.
MHSSN response to GM-STPS
MHSSN statement on the release of the Final Report
Website of the U.S. National Administrative Office (NAO) with information of the complaint procedures, texts of submissions, reports of the U.S. NAO, agreements from Ministerial Consultations, and status reports. http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/nao/main.htm

Analysis of the complaint process by Human Rights Watch: 'Trading Away Rights: The Unfilled Promises of the NAFTA Labor Side Agreement (April 2001) www.hrw.org/reports/2001/nafta

Complaint by workers at the Autotrim plant in Matamoros and Customtrim/Breed Mexicana plant in Valle Hermoso (June 2000)
Text of Submission 2000-01

Text of Network testimony at the U.S. NAO hearing in San Antonio, TX, (December 12, 2000)

NIOSH Report on visits to Autotrim and Customtrim plants (March 7, 2001) (PDF)

Text of the U.S. NAO report (April 6, 2001)

July 6, 2001 letter to the U.S. NAO with proposed remedies

November 20, 2001 letter to the U.S. NAO protesting lack of action

December 12, 2001 letter to U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao proposing the creation of an "Evaluation Committee of Experts"
March 20, 2002 letter to U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao protesting her refusal to convoke an "Evaluation Committee of Experts"
CJM Fact Sheet on Customtrim/Autotrim Complaint
35 Members of Congress Write Labor Secretary Chao Demanding Action on Autotrim/Customtrim (May 7, 2002)
US-Mexico "Joint Declaration" to close the Autotrim/Customtrim case (June 11, 2002)
CJM Statement on the June 11th US-Mexico Joint Declaration (June 19, 2002)
UE President Hovis letter to Secretary Chao (July 24, 2002)
Senators Kennedy and Wellstone letter to Secretary Chao (August 23, 2002)
CJM Letter to Labor Secretaries Chao and Abascal (September 6, 2002)
AT/CT Submitters Letter to the 3 NAFTA Labor Secretaries (October 7, 2003)
US Department of Labor response to October 2003 letter (December 15, 2003) (PDF)
Canada's Labour Ministry response to October 2003 letter (December 18, 2003) (PDF)
March 15, 2004 letter to Canada's Labour Minister and US Labor Department
Complaint by workers at the Han Young plant in Tijuana (February 1998)
Text of Submission 9702, Part II

Text of Network testimony at the U.S. NAO hearing in San Diego, CA, on February 18, 1998

Text of the U.S. NAO report (August 11, 1998)

Text of Ministerial Agreement (May 18, 2000)

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Report on Guatemala Training (December 2004)

CAFTA Reports

Final Report of Central America Health and Safety Training, September 2003
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Newsletter of the Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational and Environmental Health Victims (ANROEV)


In October 2016, Network Coordinator Garrett Brown and industrial hygienist Enrique Medina were asked by the Workers Rights Consortium in Washington, DC to conduct a site inspection of a Korean-operated garment factory in Vietnam which produces for major international apparel corporations, including Nike.

Materials related to the factory audit include the following:

“Hansae Vietnam: Case study of hazardous working conditions and the failure of corporate social responsibility audits to fix the hazards,’ The Pump Handle, December 13, 2016”
“Workers Rights Consortium Factory Assessment, Hansae Vietnam Co., Ltd. (Vietnam); Findings, Recommendation, Status Update,” - Workers Rights Consortium, December 6, 2016
“Report of Occupational Health and Safety Audit at Hansae Vietnam Company Limited,” Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network and Alliance Consulting International,” October 21, 2016 (PDF)
“Working life in the latest corporate supply chain ‘Promised Land’ – Vietnam,” The Pump Handle, October 28, 201 6 (PDF)
“Worker Revolt in Myanmar Smashes garment factory and apparel brands’ false promises,” The Pump Handle, April 10, 2017

In January 2000, Network Coordinator Garrett Brown and Professor Dara O'Rourke of MIT received a two-year grant from the MacArthur Foundation to conduct capacity-building trainings on occupational safety and health topics with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Asia.

The first training occurred in Jakarta, Indonesia, in June 2000 with 32 representatives of 12 NGOs and six trade unions. A follow-up training with these participants and others occurred in February 2002.

The second training occured in August 2001 in Dongguan City, China, at a 30,000-worker sports shoe factory. The training involved participants from NGOs in Hong Kong and China, Hong Kong trade unions, labor practices staff of adidas, Reebok and Nike, and production workers and supervisors/managers of three plants in Guangdong Province.

Report from LION in Indonesia on MHSSN-funded training in Tangerang in July 2011 (PDF — 7MB)
The Asia Health and Safety Training Project—Training Activists in Indonesia June and February 2002: FINAL REPORT (March 19, 2003) The following are PDF files click here if you need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader
Main Report (PDF)
Appendix 1: agenda (PDF)
Appendix 2: prepost evaluation worksheet (PDF)
Appendix 3: follow-up survey (PDF)
Appendix 4: teaching agenda (PDF)
June 2000 training of NGOs and Union staff and activists in Jakarta, Indonesia
Indonesia: Follow-up Training Held in February 2002
“Made in China” journal, March 2017
“Made in China” journal, December 2016
“Lean Manufacturing Comes to China" (PDF) article in the July-September 2007 issue of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
“ISHN Global Watch: China proposes worker protection law” (by Garrett Brown, Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, May 24, 2007)
Memorandum of Understanding for July 2001 training of NGO staff, Hong Kong union staff, international brand staff, plant supervisors and workers in Dongguan City, China
China: March 2002 Evaluation Visits to Three Giant Footwear Plants
Final Report of the Coordinating Committee of the "China Capacity Building Project—Occupational Health and Safety" May 29, 2002
International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, Volume 9, Number 4, October/December 2003 (Special Issue: Occupational Health and Safety in China)
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The growth of the maquiladora plants on the U.S.-Mexico border, and increasingly throughout Mexico, is part of the economic "globalization" process which has affected all corners of the world. The issues of workplace and safety in the maquilas is closely linked to the issues of labor practices in the "export processing zones" and "sweatshops" in both developing and developed economies.

The following information is offered to help understand the context and challenges facing occupational health professionals in the Mexican maquilas and similar facilities throughout the world. The following references are only a small portion of the websites, organizations and publications that exist on this issue.

Codes of Conduct and Monitoring Systems

Fair Labor Association (US)

Workers Rights Consortium (US)

American Apparel Manufacturers Association (US) – "Worldwide Responsible Apparel Program – WRAP"

Social Accounting International (US)

Clean Clothes Campaign (Holland)

Ethical Trading Initiative (UK)

Hong Kong Coalition for the Safe Production of Toys (China)

International Organization Codes of Conduct

International Labor Organization (ILO): ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998)

Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development (OCED): OCED Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2000)

United Nations (UN): The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

Information Sources
“Free on-line course on ‘decent work in global supply chains’ offered by the Global Labour University,” The Pump Handle, November 29, 2016
PCIH 2008 Resource Flyer  (Genuine Worker Participation in Plant OHS Programs — Selected Resources)
“Genuine Worker Participation – An Indispensable Key to Effective Global OHS"  a presentation by Garrett Brown, Professional Conference in Industrial Hygiene, AIHA Academy of Industrial Hygiene, November 10, 2008 (PDF)
“ISO's Social Responsibility guidelines: A small step forward — maybe" (column by Garrett Brown, Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, September 2005)
“Protecting Workers’ Health and Safety in the Globalizing Economy through International Trade Treaties” (by Garrett Brown, International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, April–June 2005) (PDF)
Why NAFTA Failed and What’s Needed to Protect Workers’ Health and Safety in International Trade Treaties (by Garrett Brown, December 2004) (PDF)
"The Global Threats to Workers' Health and Safety on the Job" by Garrett Brown, Social Justice, Vol. 29, No.3
Business & Human Rights: A Resource Website (online library of key documents)
Ethical Performance (British newsletter on corporate responsibility worldwide)
Globalization, Labor—What’s in the News (newsletter of the New Economy Information Service)

International Forum on Globalization (San Francisco, CA-based policy center)

Memo: Codes Update (newsletter of Canada’s Maquila Solidarity Network)
Public Citizen Global Trade Watch (website of Ralph Nader-founded citizens’ group)
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Mexico News
"Borderlines" Newsletter and "BIOS-Border Information and Outreach Service" (from the Interhemispheric Resource Center)
Mexican Labor News and Analysis
La Jornada (Mexico's widely read independent newspaper - in Spanish)
"Pulse Point" (commercial newsletter with information on Mexican regulations)
"MaquilaMarket.com" (commercial newsletter with economic and regulatory news)
NAFTA and Inter-American Trade Monitor
Sustainable Earth Electronic Library (a superb collection of journals covering international environmental issues with something on Central America or Mexico in almost all categories)
Global News
Multinational Monitor (US magazine)
Council of Canadians (leading Canadian NGO)
Human Rights for Workers (Robert Senser's newsletter)
Focus on the Global South (based in Thailand)
China Labour Bulletin (Hong Kong-based newsletter)
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NAFTA Countries
Campaign for Labor Rights
Environmental Health Coalition (San Diego)
Global Exchange
International Labor Rights Fund
Maquila Solidarity Network (Canada)
Mexico Solidarity Network
National Interfaith Committe for Worker Justice
National Labor Committee
People's Global Action (Canada)
Red Mexicana (Mexico)
Resource Center of the Americas
Sweatshop Watch
UNITE Stop Sweatshops Campaign
United Students Against Sweatshop
Asian Countries
Asia Monitor Resource Center (Hong Kong)
Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational Accident Victims (ANROAV—Thailand)
Committe for Asian Women (CAW—Thailand)
Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee (Hong Kong)
Thai Labour Campaign (Thailand)
Child Labor Coalition
Clean Clothes Campaign
Ethical Trading Initiative
Global Labour Inspectors Network
Third World Network
Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO)
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This site was last revised April 2017

Please send comments to:

Garrett Brown, the Network coordinator, at "garrettdbrown@comcast.net"

Heather Block, the webmaster, at "hblockdesign@gmail.com"