Evaluation of a pilot promotora program for Latino forest workers in southern Oregon

BACKGROUND: Forest work, an occupation with some of the highest injury and illness rates, is conducted primarily by Latino immigrant workers. This study evaluates a pilot program where promotoras (lay community health educators) provided occupational health and safety trainings for Latino forest workers.
METHODS: Evaluation methods included a focus group, post-tests, and qualitative feedback.
RESULTS: Community capacity to address working conditions increased through (i) increased leadership and community access to information and resources; and (ii) increased worker awareness of workplace health and safety rights and resources. Fear of retaliation remains a barrier to workers taking action; nevertheless, the promotoras supported several workers in addressing-specific workplace issues.
CONCLUSIONS: For working conditions to significantly improve, major structural influences need to be addressed. A long-term, organizationally supported promotora program can play a key role in linking and supporting change at the individual, interpersonal and community levels, contributing to and supporting structural change.

Source: Bush DE, Wilmsen C, Sasaki T, Barton-Antonio D, Steege AL, Chang C. Am. J. Ind. Med. 2014.

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