Proyecto de Salud de los Trabajadores del Campo: Latino Farmworker Health Project

Agricultural work ranks among the most hazardous occupations in the U.S. for fatalities, injuries, and illnesses, and an increasing number of farm workers are Latino. Although some research has studied the impact of physical work-related stressors on occupational illness and injury for Latino farmworkers, few studies have included psychosocial stressors in their scope. Thus, this 12-month, cross-sectional pilot project aimed (1) to delineate how work is organized in small-scale crop and horse production worksites in Central Kentucky and identify job-related health issues among Latino farmworkers employed in them; and (2) to determine which psychological stressors in small-scale crop and horse production contribute to occupational injury and illness among Latino farmworkers.

Through qualitative interviews and a subsequent larger survey, the researchers collected and analyzed data about the work environment, self-perceived health, and recent injury incidence among a community-based sample of Latino farmworkers in crop and horse production. Results of the study been shared at several major conferences: the annual meeting of the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America (ASHCA 2010), the annual meeting of the International Society for Agricultural Safety and Health (ISASH 2010), the annual meeting and exposition of the American Public Health Association (APHA 2010), and the National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS 2011). Findings also have been translated into research briefs for local community and industry partners, as well as peer-reviewed publications.

This pilot project supplied preliminary data for a more comprehensive, 5-year study funded by CDC/NIOSH Cooperative Agreement 2U54OH007547-11, Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention: Latino Farm Workers, Work Organization, Safety and Health. The ongoing project (2011-2016) seeks primarily to (1) identify the job hazards and work organization factors inherent in horse production; (2) determine the types of illness, injuries and near miss incidents experienced by Latino horse workers; and (3) analyze the direct relationship of work organization variables to occupational health outcomes, and the indirect relationship through increased exposure to job-level hazards.

For more information contact Jess Clouser, Institute for Workplace Innovation, University of Kentucky, 859-296-1089.