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Working conditions and health in Central America: a survey of 12 024 workers in six countries.

Authors
Benavides-FG; Wesseling-C; Delclos-GL; Felknor-S; Pinilla-J; Rodrigo-F
Source
Occup Environ Med 2014 Jul; 71(7):459-465
NIOSHTIC No.
20044281
Abstract
Objective: To describe the survey methodology and initial general findings of the first Central American Survey of Working Conditions and Health. Methods: A representative sample of 12 024 workers was interviewed at home in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Questionnaire items addressed worker demographics, employment conditions, occupational risk factors and self-perceived health. Results: Overall, self-employment (37%) is the most frequent type of employment, 8% of employees lack a work contract and 74% of the workforce is not covered by social security. These percentages are higher in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and lower in Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua. A third of the workforce works more than 48 h per week, regardless of gender; this is similar across countries. Women and men report frequent or usual exposures to high ambient temperature (16% and 25%, respectively), dangerous tools and machinery (10%, 24%), work on slippery surfaces (10%, 23%), breathing chemicals (12.1%, 18%), handling toxic substances (5%, 12.1%), heavy loads (6%, 20%) and repetitive movements (43%, 49%). Two-thirds of the workforce perceive their health as being good or very good, and slightly more than half reports having good mental health. Conclusions: The survey offers, for the first time, comparable data on the work and health status of workers in the formal and informal economy in the six Spanish-speaking Central American countries, based on representative national samples. This provides a benchmark for future monitoring of employment and working conditions across countries.
Keywords
Workers; Work-environment; Demographic-characteristics; Humans; Men; Women; Questionnaires; Risk-factors; Statistical-analysis; Temperature-effects; Heat; Heat-exposure; Tools; Machine-tools; Exposure-levels; Fall-protection; Respiration; Respiratory-irritants; Chemical-burns; Chemical-composition; Chemical-properties; Toxins; Repetitive-work
Contact
Professor Fernando G Benavides, CiSAL-Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona, Dr Aiguader 88, Barcelona 08003, Spain
CODEN
OEMEEM
Publication Date
20140701
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
fernando.benavides@upf.edu
Fiscal Year
2014
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
M052014
Issue of Publication
7
ISSN
1351-0711
NIOSH Division
OEP; OD
Source Name
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
State
TX; GA
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