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Keywords:

  • construction worker;
  • Latino;
  • health disparities;
  • occupational safety;
  • occupational injury;
  • vulnerable population

Abstract

Background

Construction is a hazardous occupation, with Latino (Hispanic) workers at a greater risk for death than other ethnicities/races. Latinos accounted for over half of construction injuries involving days away from work in Nevada in 2006.

Methods

This study recruited 30 Latino construction workers from three Southern Nevada trade unions to participate in four focus groups conducted in Spanish to determine their perceived risks for injury. Audiotapes were transcribed into English transcripts, which were analyzed for themes.

Results

Themes included language/communication difficulties, traditional Latino values, construction trade skill level differences, and health literacy. Participants were unfamiliar with the workers' compensation system.

Conclusions

Small contractors in particular should provide more effective safety training in Spanish and appropriate safety equipment. Unions should offer English language training using simulation and more information about workers' compensation rights. Occupational health providers should consider Latino beliefs and communication needs when assessing health status or providing care. Am. J. Ind. Med. 53:179–187 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.