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Adressing occupational challenges from heat in a warming world

A multi-stakeholder initiative awarded funding to address urgent health risks for workers in Central America

Just at the end of 2021 we received approval for “PREP 4 Change”, the multi-stakeholder initiative for “Prevention, Resilience, Efficiency, and Protection”,  in which CNV Internationaal is participating. “We are honoured that the US Department of Labor International Labor Affairs recognizes the integrated approach we proposed”, comments CNV Internationaal’s Latin America Coordinator Maurice van Beers.

“This initiative will improve the situation of workers producing the sugarcane who are suffering from extremely heavy working conditions. They harvest tons of sugarcane in extreme temperatures during long working days. Often there’s not enough drinking water available at the remote fields. And they often do their work without sufficient protective equipment.”

Every year this causes many preventable death and injuries within the workplace in Central America. “We look forward to responding to these long-standing challenges in supply chains throughout Central America, with our partners within this multi-stakeholder initiative. CNV Internationaal will contribute to this project focussing on encouraging social dialogue to strengthen the voice of the trade unions organising sugarcane workers on the fields and in the factories. We will monitor the health situation of sugar workers on the fields, through participative monitoring using the KoBoToolBox.”

Establishing Centers of Excellence for occupational health

The project involves the establishment of Centers of Excellence for occupational health best-practices. These Centers will function as research sites, educational platforms, and examples for the agricultural and textile industries-at-large. Pilot projects will be developed to show how occupational health can be responsibly and adequately addressed in the face of the surmounting occupational challenges from heat in a warming world.

Improving workers' access to remediation 

Simultaneously, systems of improved access to remediation will be developed, for those who have been, or are injured or sickened at work. Early Warning, Alert Response, and Preparedness System (EWARPS) will be created to protect and mitigate against future pandemics, epidemics, and occupationally acquired illness and injury (OAII), ensuring the longevity and sustainability of this project beyond the four and half year timeline.  

Addressing the needs of workers

PREP4Change takes a systems approach to prevent, mitigate, and remediate workplace illness and injury. It will increase the utilization of existing social protection systems by workers and families affected by workplace illnesses and injuries.

It also aims to increase the preparedness of employers, unions, and government institutions for future pandemics and emerging illnesses and injuries. It will fundamentally address the needs of workers for safe, dignified work.

Responding to long-standing challenges in supply chains

We are honoured that the U.S. Department of Labors’ Bureau of International Labor Affairs recognized this integrated approach towards responding to long-standing challenges in supply chains throughout Central America. The systems we develop through this project will be applicable to comparable industries and geographies worldwide.  

Over the next four and half years, together we will address urgent health risks including occupational heat stress driven by climate change, facing workers in the sugar sector in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras; the coffee sector in Honduras; and the maquiladora sector in El Salvador.

Partners and dedicated allies

The multi-stakeholder initiative is led by La Isla Network alongside CNV Internationaal, World Vision International, Fair Labor Association,  Wuqu' Kawoq - Maya Health Alliance, leading local universities, and an international network of labor policy and occupational health allies.


PREP 4 Change will draw on the expertise and support of dedicated allies, including AmforiORMUSAFEASIESProforestPAHOIngenio El AngelAdidasThe Coca Cola CompanyDiageoFair Trade USA, and the Adelante Initiative cofounders Bonsucro and Ingenio San Antonio


Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL-37318. 100% of the total costs of the project or program is financed with federal funds, for a total of $7,999,963.63 dollars.

This material does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the United States Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the United States Government. 

Publication date 16 01 2022