Online Program

Exploring the use of smart phones and mobile applications to document the occupational hazards of immigrant construction workers in a post disaster setting

Monday, November 2, 2015

Anna Tilles, MS, The Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment, Queens College, Flushing, NY
Andres Camacho, The Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment, Queens College, Flushing, NY
Diego Palaguachi, Make The Road New York, Make The Road New York, Jackson Heights, NY
Grace Sembajwe, SCD, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at Hunter College, Hunter School of Public Health, New York, NY, NY
Maria Julia Brunette, PhD, Department of Work Environment, University of Massachusetts-Lowell College of Health Sciences, Lowell, MA
Steven Markowitz, MD, DrPH, The Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment, Queens College, Flushing, NY
Sherry Baron, MD, MPH, The Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment, Queens College, Flushing, NY
Background:Following Hurricane Sandy, Make the Road New York, a community- based advocacy organization alongside The Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment developed a mobile phone application to document workplace conditions, report back about their experiences  and the types of hazards they faced.

Methods: Using an open source platform (ODK), an Android based mobile application was designed to capture information and photos on work-site hazards in Sandy affected areas. Sixteen workers were taught to use the application, recognize workplace hazards and document them from various work-sites over the course of four months.  The assessments were reviewed and follow-up meetings were conducted with all the workers. Periodic check-ins were done in person and by phone with those who reported doing tasks where their health was deemed at risk.

Results:175 work-sites were assessed. Within these worksites the frequency of reported hazards were: dust 66%, electric cables 29%, mold 25%, asbestos 16%, heights 17%, and lead removal 18%. In total 316 hazards were reported. Those working in post disaster worksites were more likely to report exposure to mold, electric cables, dust, and asbestos. Data were reviewed with the worker-assessors periodically throughout the initial collection period to gain insight into their experiences using the application. 

Discussion: A mobile application was a useful mechanism for training construction workers to identify and report workplace hazards. Findings are being used to further develop a mobile application that could be used by workers and organizations to document hazards in post disaster settings.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Describe how mobile applications might be used in post disaster situations to document hazards

Keyword(s): Immigrant Health, Occupational Health and Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a research assistant at the Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment at Queens College, which has a focus on conducting studies on Latino immigrant worker populations such as those included in this study. In this role I coordinated research and assisted in the analysis of the data collected. I have a MS Urban Sustainability which provided me the advanced skills necessary to conduct this work.
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.