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Safety and Health for Immigrant Workers

Categories: Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, Construction, Occupational Health Equity, Outdoor Work, Personal Protective Equipment, Training

 

The United States workforce, like the population in general, is becoming more ethnically diverse. “We are and always will be a nation of immigrants,” President Obama stated recently in announcing his initiative on immigration reform. The Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project estimates that immigrants will make up roughly 23% of adults of working age in 2050, up from 15% in 2005 (Passel & Cohn, 2008). It is also predicted that immigrants and their children will make up 83% of the growth in the working age population of the U.S. during this same time period (Congressional Budget Office, 2005). Immigration from Latin America to the U.S. has grown dramatically over the past 2 decades and will figure prominently in these numbers. Currently, about 18 million Latino immigrants live in the U.S. (Batalova & Terrazas, 2010).

Latino workers suffer significantly higher rates of workplace fatalities (5.0 per 100,000 workers) than all workers combined (4.0), non-Latino white workers (4.0) or non-Latino black workers (3.7) (Cierpich, Styles, Harrison, et al., 2008). Considered alone, Latino immigrants to the U.S. have a workplace fatality rate of 5.9 per 100,000 which is almost 50% higher than the rate for all workers (4.0). In 2013, two-thirds of work-related deaths among Latinos were among foreign-born individuals, up from slightly more than half in 1992. These data suggest that fatalities among immigrant workers may be the driving force behind the elevated rates of workplace injuries and illnesses among Latinos in the U.S.

Collecting Data on Worker Hearing Loss: Epidemiology in Action

Categories: Epidemiology, Hearing Loss, Safety and Health Data

Epidemiology is the art and science of using data to answer questions about the health of groups. In occupational epidemiology, we use that data to understand how work affects health.  This blog entry is part of a series that shares the stories behind the data.

Hearing loss is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the United States. Among older adults, it is third after high blood pressure and arthritis. Nearly 1 in 4 cases of hearing loss among workers is caused by exposures on the job. These exposures include loud noise and chemicals that can damage hearing, such as organic solvents, heavy metals and asphyxiants.

Thanksgiving Ergonomics: Reducing material handling injuries with engineering controls

Categories: Engineering Control, Ergonomics, Observances, Wholesale and Retail Trade

 

grocery3If you haven’t purchased your 20 pound Thanksgiving turkey or your 10 pound bag of potatoes rest assured employees at your local grocery stores are busy restocking the shelves each day with your favorite Thanksgiving foods. It‘s hard enough lifting those items into your cart but what about the workers who haul those tons of turkeys, pounds of potatoes, and stock the shelves with green beans, cranberries, and stuffing? Nearly 2.5 million cashiers and stocking clerks are at risk for musculoskeletal injuries that stem from overexertion in grocery stores. According to Liberty Mutual Research Institute, overexertion is the leading cause of workplace injuries and account for $14.2 billion in direct costs. In the grocery sector, overexertion injuries that lead to soft tissue injuries, A.K.A. musculoskeletal disorders, account for 41% of the injuries and lost work in grocery stores[1].

First, Do No Harm: Temporary Threshold Shift Screening Is Not Worth the Risk

Categories: Hearing Loss, Manufacturing

 

Recently, a study by Dr. Hanns Moshammer and colleagues on “The Early Prognosis of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss” garnered national media attention.[1] Their research, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, [2] recommended routine implementation of a temporary threshold shift (TTS) screening test to identify workers particularly at risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) from occupational exposure to hazardous noise. NIHL is one of the most common work-related conditions in the United States. Susceptibility to NIHL varies across individuals, but unfortunately, no methods are available to predict risk for a particular worker.

 
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