Workplace Exposures and Protective Practices of Hispanic Warehouse Workers
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Background This study was undertaken to assess workplace hazards and protective practices among Hispanic men and women working post-harvest in asparagus, apple and pear packaging warehouses. Methods Three focus groups were conducted in July 2003 with 25 workers (20 women, 5 men) recruited from communities in the Yakima Valley, Washington. Focus group content informed the design of an in-person structured interview administered to 50 additional warehouse workers from August to November 2006. Results Focus group participants reported difficult working conditions, exposure to chemicals, adverse health effects and use of work and home protective practices to minimize exposures for themselves and their families. Structured interview participants reported few workplace exposures to chemicals although many reported engaging in workplace and home protective practices. Discussion Findings from this research can direct initial efforts to determine if and how interventions for warehouse workers may be designed to protect against hazardous workplace exposures.
KeywordsWarehouse workers Rural Hispanics Chemical exposures Take-home exposures Protective practices
This research was supported by the Center for Child Environmental Health Risks Research under the Environmental Protection Agency (RD-83170901), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (PO1-ES09601), and the National Cancer Institute Biobehavioral Cancer Prevention Training Program at the University of Washington (R25 CA092408). The authors wish to acknowledge all project interview staff as well as the warehouse worker participants in the Yakima Valley.
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