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Using community-based methods and a social ecological framework to explore workplace health and safety of bloqueros on the Olympic Peninsula.

Campe J; Hoare L; Hagopian A; Keifer M
Am J Ind Med 2011 Jun; 54(6):438-449
Background: Occupational health and safety issues among Latino immigrants are increasingly important as increased immigration has led to a burgeoning workforce with limited English language skills or lack of documentation status. Foreign-born Latino immigrants are consistently the ethnic group with the highest occupational mortality rates in the United States. We aimed to understand and document the occupational safety and health hazards faced by a particularly at-risk Latino immigrant workforce - cedar block cutters, or bloqueros - on the Olympic Peninsula. Methods: Key informant interviews were conducted using community-based participatory methods. Qualitative analysis was guided by grounded theory and a social ecological framework. Results: Thirteen interviews were conducted lasting 1-2 hr each. Three prominent findings arose: (1) bloqueros face occupational risks similar to those found in other forestry occupations, (2) bloqueros face unexpected risks that are likely unique to block cutting, and (3) bloqueros face four overlapping marginalization forces (societal, economical, political, and occupational) that undermine workplace health and safety. Conclusions: Bloqueros work low-paying, high-risk jobs with little health and safety regulation, documentation, or coverage. Workers' precarious socio-economic position and various structural factors compound workplace risks and contribute to a lack of ability to advocate for safer and healthier working conditions.
Analytical-processes; Forestry-workers; Mortality-data; Mortality-rates; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-health; Occupational-safety-programs; Qualitative-analysis; Racial-factors; Risk-analysis; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-environment; Work-organization; Workplace-studies; Work-practices; Author Keywords: occupational health; safety; Latino immigrant; forestry; socialecology; CBPR
Joseph Campe, MPH, Pacific Northwest Agricultural Health and Safety Center, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Box 357234, Seattle, WA 98195
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U50-OH-007544; B09282011
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Performing Organization
University of Washington
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division