168664 SALUD: Safety Attitudes of Latinos Underlying Disparities

Monday, October 27, 2008: 8:30 AM

Nancy N. Menzel, PhD, RN , School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
Antonio Gutierrez , School of Nursing, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
Immigrant Mexican and other Latino workers enter the US workforce through some of the most hazardous jobs, such as construction. Within the construction industry nationally, Latino workers make up 18% of the workforce, yet experience a disproportionate share of fatal and nonfatal injuries. In 2006, while the overall number of work-related fatalities in the US declined, there was a record high for Latinos, with two-thirds of them foreign born. In Nevada in 2006, 1710 Latino construction workers reported lost time nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses compared to 880 white workers. To determine reasons for this disparity, the investigator and a bilingual research assistant conducted four focus groups with 30 immigrant Latino laborers, painters, carpenters, and sheet metal workers in the fall of 2007 in Las Vegas, NV. Eighty-seven percent were male; most were in trade unions. A major theme that emerged was communication difficulty, with Latino immigrant workers identifying their inability to understand safety training, communicate on the job site, or process information from health providers, resulting in increased risk of injury or death or prolonging the severity of workplace injuries. Communication challenges involved more than just understanding or using spoken or written words. There were many cultural issues as well, such as Latino deference to elders, lack of assertiveness when dealing with perceived superiors, and differences in body language. Interventions to reduce disparities in Latino construction workers must focus on improving communication skills of the workers, safety training in Spanish, and cultural competence for supervisors and health care providers.

Learning Objectives:
1. List major themes associated with occupational injury disparities among Latino construction workers. 2. Describe cultural issues associated with communication challenges for Latino construction workers.

Keywords: Occupational Injury and Death, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.