High rates of fatal occupational injuries among Hispanic workers both nationally and in Massachusetts have raised concern about the occupational health and safety of low income immigrant and minority workers. Disproportionate exposure to workplace hazards may contribute to overall health disparities among racial and ethnic groups. Factors that potentially increase health and safety risks for these workers include employment in high risk jobs, language and communication barriers at work, inexperience and lack of information about health and safety and legal rights on the job, and limited job options that may make individuals hesitant to speak up. Better information about the occupational experience of immigrant and minority workers is needed to develop effective prevention strategies.

Community health centers (CHCs) provide a point-of-access to low income, minority populations not usually reached through conventional work-place based approaches to occupational safety and health. The purpose of the " Community Health Center " project is to evaluate the feasibility of collecting occupational health information through CHCs in order to document the health and safety experience of low income, minority populations and promote prevention of workplace illness/injury through CHC-based intervention activities. During 2002 and 2003, this project collected survey data from over 1400 CHC patients across 5 CHCs in Boston ( Dorchester ), Cambridge , Chelsea and Lowell , MA . These data are currently being prepared for release. The survey tool used in this project is available in five languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese and Khmer).

Occupational Health Survey for Community Health Centers

This information is provided by the Occupational Health Surveillance Program within the Department of Public Health.