Occupational safety beliefs among Latino residential roofing workers

Authors

  • Thomas A. Arcury PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    2. Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine
    • Correspondence to: Thomas A. Arcury, PhD, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157. E-mail: tarcury@wakehealth.edu

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  • Phillip Summers MPH,

    1. Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    2. Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine
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  • Lourdes Carrillo BS,

    1. Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine
    2. Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Sciences, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine
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  • Joseph G. Grzywacz PhD,

    1. Department of Human Development and Family Science, Oklahoma State University
    2. Center for Family Resilience, Oklahoma State University
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  • Sara A. Quandt PhD,

    1. Center for Worker Health, Wake Forest School of Medicine
    2. Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Sciences, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine
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  • Thomas H. Mills III MS

    1. Myers-Lawson School of Construction, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    2. Occupational Safety and Health Research Center, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
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  • Disclosure Statement: None of the authors has a conflict of interest.

Abstract

Background

This analysis describes beliefs about work safety and personal protective equipment (PPE) among Latino roofing workers, it delineates their perceptions of work environment characteristics that affect work safety and PPE use, and it describes how they experience work injuries and the consequences of these injuries.

Methods

In-depth interviews were completed with 10 current and former Latino residential roofers. Interview transcripts were subjected to systematic qualitative analysis.

Results

Participants' valued productivity over safety, and this had a negative influence on their safety behavior and reduced their PPE use. They understood that roofing was hazardous. They limited use of PPE when they felt it reduced productivity and when it was uncomfortable. Work environment characteristics that affected safety included company size, the physical demands of the job, lack of training, the need for work, general life stress, and distractions at work. An injury had to result in lost work time to be considered significant. Access to health care is limited by employers not providing Workers' compensation.

Discussion

Future research is needed to substantiate these descriptive results and to delineate factors that are associated with safety behavior and use of PPE. Interventions, based on a lay health educator model, are needed to improve safety in this population. Safety regulations need to be evaluated and their enforcement needs to be improved. Am. J. Ind. Med. 57:718–725, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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