268646 Labor, organizational, and regulatory conditions as psychosocial stressors among Latino/a immigrant workers in Baltimore

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM

Airin Martinez, PhD , Health, Behavior & Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Abdel Piedramartel , Casa de Maryland, Baltimore, MD
Jacqueline Agnew, RN, MPH, PhD , Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: Psychological and social demands are increasingly recognized as workplace stressors, along with physical and environmental hazards. To explore this comprehensive set of threats in Baltimore's Latino worker community, we performed an exploratory qualitative study through a community-academic partnership.

METHODS: Four focus groups with workers (n=18) and key informant interviews with community leaders (n=9) were conducted with tools developed in a collaboration between academic and community partners. Using thematic analysis to explore Latino/a immigrants' jobs, awareness of work hazards, and illnesses and injuries from work, we strongly considered psychosocial factors and their influence on behaviors such as injury reporting, care seeking, and taking preventative actions. The leaders were also asked about the political climate toward workers in Baltimore.

RESULTS: Approximately half of the participants were women and two-thirds had less than nine years of education. Similarly, two-thirds lived below the U.S. federal poverty guidelines. In addition to physical and chemical hazards, stressors noted by participants included: uneven enforcement of OSHA laws for temporary workers and smaller work sites; inaccessibility of information regarding workers' rights; and limited means to encourage reporting. Consequences included threats of physical, economic and sexual abuse, and overall anxiety. Leaders stressed the importance of community alliances and coalitions of diverse organizations to empower Latinos to proactively engage in occupational safety and health efforts.

CONCLUSION: We identified legal, economic, and cultural constraints that constitute psychosocial risk factors for Latino/a workers. Approaches to ameliorating these risks may lie in the improvement of labor, organizational and regulatory conditions.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Define the psychosocial stressors that impede Latino/a immigrant workers’ occupational health and safety. 2. Identify social and structural conditions that produce psychosocial stressors among Latino/a immigrant workers.

Keywords: Latino Health, Occupational Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Airin Martinez is a co-investigator in this community-based participatory occupational health needs assessment of Latino/a immigrant workers in Baltimore. Dr. Martinez has been conducting health disparities research with Latino populations in different US cities for over six years.
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.