221277 Organization of crop and horse breeding work in Central Kentucky and its impact on occupational health outcomes for Latino farmworkers

Monday, November 8, 2010

Jennifer Swanberg, PhD , College of Social Work, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Jessica Miller, BA , College of Social Work, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Agricultural work ranks among the most hazardous in the U.S. for fatalities, injuries, and illnesses and employs significant numbers of Latino workers, many of whom may be undocumented and/or vulnerable to exploitation. Research on health outcomes associated with job-related physical and psychological stressors for Latino farmworkers is scarce.

Using a community based sample of 103 Latino farmworkers employed in the crop (n=50) and horse (n=53) industries in Kentucky, this paper describes the organization of work in said industries; identifies the job-related health issues among Latino farmworkers employed in them; and determines which aspects of work organization are associated with negative occupational health outcomes and illness/injury for Latino farmworkers. Data were collected as part of a cross-sectional pilot study through a sample of convenience. The interview-assisted survey included questions about work organization (physical and psychological stressors), physical health status, and illness/injury. Interviews were conducted in Spanish and included standardized measures tested with Latino farmworkers.

Results suggest that in both industries, workers averaged 9-11 hours/day, six days/week. Crop work was more physically demanding with more exposure to environmental stressors than horse production. Though training and commitment to safety was low in both industries, crop management was less likely to provide safety equipment. Crop workers reported higher incidence of illness and of missed work due to job-related illness/injury.

Study findings will inform community health practitioners and farm owners of occupational hazards among this population and will identify priorities for a study determining strategies to minimize occupational hazards in crop and horse production.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the physical and psychological stressors for Latino farmworkers in the horse and crop industries. 2. Identify which aspects of the work environment increase risk of occupational illness/injury for Latino farmworkers. 2. Identify priorities in future research to decrease risk of occupational illness/injury for Latino farmworkers.

Keywords: Occupational Safety, Latino Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted research on the work environment and on vulnerable populations for over 18 years and currently direct an organization whose mission is to apply organizational research by influencing policy and employer practices.
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.