Pilot Project: Occupational Safety and Health of Forest Workers (NIOSH 2010-2011)
This project documented occupational injuries and illnesses and related medical treatment among immigrant, Spanish-speaking forest workers in southern Oregon. In addition the project informed the development of a pilot job health and safety promotora program for these workers that The Alliance of Forest Workers and Harvesters-Labor Occupational Health Program at the University of California, Berkeley- Lomakatsi Restoration Project partnership will be initiating with separate funding.
With a small grant from PNASH, this partnership piloted a job health and safety promotora program for these workers. Alliance staff recruited and trained promotores to staff the program as well as to collaborate in developing and conducting a sample survey among forest services workers.
Contacting workers through snowball sampling, the promotoras administered the questionnaire to 150 workers, representing a response rate of 75%. Principal findings show that injury rates among forest workers are much higher than rates reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and that forest workers and employers fail to report on-the-job injuries at rates consistent with other studies. The forest workers surveyed reported specific concerns about safety training and working conditions. The needs raised by workers will help this partnership in developing a promotora program.