141st APHA Annual Meeting

In This section

Sí sé: Salud y seguridad en el trabajo—health and safety education for forest workers

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 10:30 AM - 10:46 AM

Diane Bush, MPH , Labor Occupational Health Program, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Carl Wilmsen, PhD , Alliance of Forest Workers and Harvesters, Albany, CA
Dinorah Barton-Antonio , Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP), University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Andrea L. Steege, PhD, MPH , Surveillance Branch, DSHEFS, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH
Timothy Sasaki, MPH, MSW , c/o Labor Occupational Health Program, UC Berkeley, School of Public Health/School of Social Welfare, Berkeley, CA
Background and Objectives: Forest work, with some of the highest rates of injury and illness, is conducted primarily by a Latino immigrant workforce. The purpose of this project was to create and evaluate a pilot lay health advisor—or promotora—program for Latino forest workers. The program objectives were to increase: 1)Knowledge among forest workers and their families about their rights, how to protect themselves, and actions in case of injury/illness; 2)Forest workers' motivation, willingness, and confidence to address health and safety issues; and 3)Community capacity to protect workers' health. Methods: The promotoras selected were wives of forest workers. Training materials, developed in partnership with a community advisory committee, included low-literacy flip-guide charts, “conversation” guides, and resource booklets. Evaluation methods included a focus group, pre/post surveys, and qualitative feedback from a community advisory committee and promotoras. Results: Over one year, three promotoras trained 350 forest workers. Key findings: 1)Community capacity to provide information and assistance on work-related issues to forest workers increased, 2)Workers' awareness of workplace safety issues and protections, and stated motivation for action increased; 3)Educational materials served purposes of the project but were not key to its success; and 4)Due to fear of retaliation and reprisal, few workers have taken any specific action to improve workplace conditions. Conclusions: Although the promotora model is an effective way to reach forest workers with health/safety information, due to larger structural and cultural barriers, many workers are unable to make changes in their behavior or their workplace in this short timeframe.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Discuss components of a job health and safety promotora program for Latino forest workers Identify barriers and strategies for developing community-level interventions that effectively address workplace health and safety

Keywords: Occupational Health, Community Health Promoters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the co-coordinator of the Health and Safety Education for Forest Workers Project since its inception in 2010. I have and MPH in community health education and 25 years' experience as an occupational health educator and program planner.
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.