Role of community based organizations in disaster preparedness for immigrant day laborers: An effective model for protecting worker safety and health
Methods: Over seven months the program delivered a 2-hour Spanish language hazard awareness training to 503 workers and provided them with a comprehensive set of personal protective equipment (PPE) including a half-face respirator, steel-toed boots, N95 masks, work gloves, and hard hats. Training included respirator fit-testing with medical clearance. A follow up telephone survey conducted with a sample of the trained workers, enumerated the type of work tasks performed, the use of the training and PPE, and work-related health issues.
Results: Among a sample of 260 trained workers, 191 (73%) responded to the survey and 48% worked in areas affected by Sandy in the three months following the training. The Sandy workers reported using the majority of the equipment over 80% of the time, and all the equipment around 50% of the time. 40% reported raising safety and health issues with their employer, 30% reported refusing a job or task because it was unsafe and 80% reported raising issues with coworkers. 20% experienced some type of workplace-related injury, of whom half sought medical attention.
Discussion: Providing training and PPE through community-based organizations to immigrant construction laborers following disasters is an effective method for reaching a high risk population. Future preparedness efforts should include building capacity among these organizations.
Learning Areas:Diversity and culture
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related public policy
Describe the role of community based organizations in a post disaster setting. Demonstrate the effectiveness of community based training for immigrant day laborers.
Keyword(s): Immigrant Health, Occupational Health and Safety
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a coinvestigator on a federal grant to develop training for immigrant day laborers doing post disaster clean up. For the past 25 years I have been in charge of multiple studies to develop occupational safety and health training for immigrant workers
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.