Occupational risks of Seattle day laborers are very high

A study published this summer in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine reported on interviews of day laborers in Seattle. The authors estimated that the annual rate of work injuries was 31%,or 31 per 100 workers an extraordinarily high rate comparable to roughly 10% for relatively high risk conventional employment such as construction.
The abstract of the article:
Occupational health and safety experience of day laborers in Seattle, WA
Noah S. Seixas, PhD, CIH *, Hillary Blecker, MPH, Janice Camp, MS, MN, Rick Neitzel, MS
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
email: Noah S. Seixas (nseixas@u.washington.edu)
American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 51:399-406, 2008
*Correspondence to Noah S. Seixas, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington, 4225 Roosevelt Way, NE, Seattle, WA 98105-6099.
Background: Day Labor is a growing part of the informal economy in the US, and in Seattle, and may entail a high risk of injury and illness at work.
Methods: We surveyed 180-day laborers, at two worker centers and an unregulated Street location concerning their job-specific exposures and injury experience.
Results: Exposures to both health and safety hazards were common at all three sites. After controlling for type of work, immigrant workers were 1.5-2 times more likely than non-immigrant day laborers to report exposure to hazardous conditions. Among the 180 participants 34 reported injuries were classified as recordable. We estimated an injury rate of 31 recordable injuries per 100 full time employees. The three hiring locations had differing job experiences and exposures. Those hired through worker centers had a lower risk of exposures, while the Street workers were more likely to refuse hazardous work.
Conclusions: Day laborers are exposed to numerous hazards at work, resulting in high injury rates. Multiple approaches including community based organizations which may provide some employment stability and social support for protection at work are needed to reduce occupational injury and illness risk among these vulnerable populations. Am. J. Ind. Med. 51:399-406, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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