Queens College and Make the Road New York, in collaboration with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and New Perspectives Consulting, propose to fill important gaps in knowledge about occupational health and safety hazards and to develop and test methods of addressing those hazards for a heretofore neglected workforce - immigrant day laborers who are involved in renovation and new construction of buildings damaged as a result of Hurricane Sandy (FOA Priority #2). This work is important, challenging, and achievable.
Study aims are threefold: 1) to conduct 260 workplace safety and health hazard assessments at worksites encountered by Latino construction day laborers in Sandy-related recovery construction work;2) to identify potential barriers and facilitators for protecting the safety and health of Latino construction day laborers engaged in such work;and 3) to develop, evaluate, and disseminate education and training materials tailored to the identified barriers and facilitators to enhance occupational safety and health for Latino construction day laborers and others working in post-disaster reconstruction. The proposed research exploits an exceptional opportunity to build on a current training project of Make the Road New York and Queens College in which 500 immigrant day laborers are being trained and provided with a full set of personal protective equipment to work in demolition, clean-up, and reconstruction of buildings damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Proposed study methods will involve: 1) development and use of safety and hazard worksite assessment tools, including checklist and photo-documentation;2) use of worker focus groups and key informant interviews to gain insight into barriers and facilitators of safer workplaces for immigrant workers and 3) development, testing, and evaluation of training tailored to immigrant laborers in post-disaster settings. Overall project evaluation will follow a logic model and specify intermediate and end outcomes. Outputs of the proposed research will include a report on the prevalence of occupational hazards in post-disaster reconstruction, safety and hazards checklist tools, a training curriculum that addresses barriers and facilitators to enhanced safety and health in a low literacy, immigrant population, and educational materials that disseminate the key messages of the training curriculum. Intermediate and end outcomes are an enhanced capacity of community organizations and the occupational health community to protect immigrant day laborers in post-disaster reconstruction with consequent reduction in their illness and injury.

Public Health Relevance

This project seeks to better understand and then reduce the work hazards that immigrant construction laborers in New York face at worksites related to clean-up and reconstruction in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. We will train a group of laborers to assess their worksites;aggregate and describe the findings of these assessments;identify barriers to and facilitators of safe work for immigrant workers;and then construct and implement appropriate training to overcome identified barriers and enhance facilitators. Worksite assessment, educational, and training materials will be disseminated for use by others in the occupational health community.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Research Project--Cooperative Agreements (U01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZOH1-JFK (51))
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Inserra, Steve
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Queens College
United States
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Cuervo, Isabel; Leopold, Les; Baron, Sherry (2017) Promoting Community Preparedness and Resilience: A Latino Immigrant Community-Driven Project Following Hurricane Sandy. Am J Public Health 107:S161-S164