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Archived
June, 2007


Hispanic Health Program


             PROTECTING THE SAFETY AND
         HEALTH OF IMMIGRANT WORKERS

WHAT IS THE PUBLIC HEALTH PROBLEM?


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Foreign-born workers are more likely to be employed in the higher-risk and lower-wage sectors of the workforce, such as agriculture, construction, and service industries.

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There are approximately 16.5 million foreign-born workers in the United States.

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Latin America is the region of birth for over half of foreign-born workers.

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Between 1999 and 2000, while the number of occupational fatalities in the country decreased, there was a 5% increase in the number of fatalities among foreign-born workers, and a 12% increase in the number of Hispanic-worker deaths (even though the Hispanic/Latino workforce grew by only 6%).


WHAT HAS CDC ACCOMPLISHED?

CDC is working to address the health and safety needs of immigrant workers through targeted efforts to reduce illnesses, injuries, and fatalities in the most hazardous sectors of the immigrant workforce.
 

Examples of programs in action:
  To better understand issues faced by immigrant agricultural workers, CDC is collaborating with the Department of Labor to collect data on hired crop farm workers, most of whom are foreign born, through the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS). NAWS is the only national study that has documented the living and working conditions of immigrant workers.
  In 2000, 23% of fatal occupational injuries to foreign-born workers occurred to workers in construction trades. CDC is studying dry wall work, the construction occupation that has the highest percentage of Hispanic/Latino workers, and has developed a Spanish-language survey and educational materials for preventing silicosis, a fatal disease affecting construction workers.
  In 2000, 24% of fatal occupational injuries to foreign-born workers were due to homicides. CDC is evaluating the effectiveness of violence prevention strategies, such as panic buttons in taxi cabs, as well as various state-based approaches. CDC also is supporting studies on prevention of nonfatal injuries to immigrant workers such as home health care aides and poultry workers.
  CDC has developed a new Spanish-language web site to better meet the needs of the growing Hispanic/Latino worker population, which is estimated to increase by more than one-third over the next decade. The web site, "NIOSH en Español," provides resources in Spanish, including translations of selected NIOSH publications and links to other useful Spanish-language materials on occupational safety and health.


WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?

CDC will continue to improve data collection, research, and communication methods to better address the many language, cultural, social, and political challenges immigrant workers face. Increased understanding of the experiences and concerns of immigrant workers will help better tailor education and intervention programs to meet the needs of this diverse population.
 

For more information, contact the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674); http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/. http://www.cdc.gov/spanish/niosh.


Back to the Hispanic/Latino Populations Page

 

 

Hispanic Health Program
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