229504 Health and Safety in San Francisco's Chinatown Restaurants: Findings from an Observational Survey

Monday, November 8, 2010

Alvaro Morales, MPH Candidate , Department of Health Education, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Megan E. Gaydos, MPH , Environmental Health, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA
Alicia L. Salvatore, DrPH , Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Pamela Tau Lee , School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Shaw San Liu , Chinese Progressive Association, San Francisco, CA
Charlotte Chang, DrPH, MPH , Labor Occupational Health Program, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Niklas Krause, MD, PhD , School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, Richmond, CA
Meredith Minkler, DrPH , Department of Health and Social Behavior, UC Berkeley School of Public Health, Berkeley, CA
Rajiv Bhatia, MD, MPH , Occupational and Environmental Health, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco, CA
Restaurants are a major employer of immigrant workers in the United States, yet relatively little is known about their working conditions. Recurring accounts of wage theft and job hazards point to a need for more information about occupational health justice in restaurants. To better understand and address the health and safety of restaurant workers in San Francisco's Chinatown District, a community-university-health department partnership was formed and an ecological community-based participatory research (CBPR) study initiated. The study includes worker- and restaurant-level data collection and translation of research findings into action. This presentation focuses on restaurant-level data collection. We discuss development of a standardized observational survey and share results and lessons learned from its implementation in Chinatown restaurants by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH).

Checklist administration in Chinatown restaurants (n=106) revealed widespread prevalence of preventable occupational hazards and limited compliance with local and state regulations requiring workplace labor law notifications, thus, indicating numerous opportunities for prevention and enforcement. Joint interpretation of results by SFDPH staff and restaurant workers enhanced understanding of findings. SFDPH's experiences with checklist implementation, while promising, suggest that effective use of this tool for monitoring and addressing workplace hazards in San Francisco and other counties will require further assessment of organizational commitments, inter-agency collaboration (i.e., Cal-OSHA, CA Division of Labor Standards Enforcement), and relevant policy directives.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify several hazards facing San Francisco’s Chinatown restaurant workers. 2. Name two ways in which worker input enhanced the collection of restaurant-level data. 2. Describe at least one implication of study findings for practice/policy to promote worker health and safety.

Keywords: Workplace Safety, Immigrants

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have 25 years experience in worker education and training at University setting
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.