Characterizing the low wage immigrant workforce: a comparative analysis of the health disparities among selected occupations in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Panikkar B; Woodin MA; Brugge D; Hyatt R; Gute DM; Community Partners of the Somerville Community Immigrant Worker Project
Am J Ind Med 2014 May; 57(5):516-526
Background: This study estimates job-related risks among common low wage occupations (cleaning, construction, food service, cashier/baggers, and factory workers) held by predominantly Haitian, El Salvadorian, and Brazilian immigrants living or working in Somerville, Massachusetts. Methods: A community-based cross-sectional survey on immigrant occupational health was conducted between 2006 and 2009 and logistic regression was used to assess the job-related risks among the most common low wage occupations. Results: Construction workers reported significantly higher health risks, and lower access to occupational health services than the other occupations. Compared to cashier/ baggers, the reference population in this study, cleaners reported significantly lower access to health and safety and work training and no knowledge of workers' compensation. Factory workers reported significantly lower work training compared to cashier/baggers. Food service workers reported the least access to doctors compared to the other occupations. Conclusion: We found significant variability in risks among different low wage immigrant occupations. The type of occupation independently contributed to varying levels of risks among these jobs. We believe our findings to be conservative and recommend additional inquiry aimed at assuring the representativeness of our findings.
Health-care; Occupational-health; Occupations; Racial-factors; Service-industries; Health-services; Health-surveys; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Construction; Construction-workers;
Author Keywords: immigrant health; occupational health; construction workers; cleaners; factory workers; community based participatory research
Bindu Panikkar, Department of Sociology and Anthroplogy, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts