Undocumented status as a social determinant of occupational safety and health

The workers' perspective
BACKGROUND: Undocumented immigration to the United States has grown dramatically over the past 25 years. This study explores undocumented status as a social determinant of occupational health by examining its perceived consequences on workplace safety of Latino immigrants.
METHODS: Guided by the Theory of Work Adjustment, qualitative analysis was conducted on transcripts from focus groups and individual interviews conducted with a convenience sample of Latino immigrant workers.
RESULTS: Participants reported that unauthorized status negatively impacted their safety at work and resulted in a degree of alienation that exceeded the specific proscriptions of the law. Participants overwhelming used a strategy of disengagement to cope with the challenges they face as undocumented immigrants.
CONCLUSION: This study describes the complex web of consequences resulting from undocumented status and its impact on occupational health. This study presents a framework connecting the daily work experiences of immigrants, the coping strategy of disengagement, and efforts to minimize the impact of structural violence.

Source: Flynn MA, Eggerth DE, Jacobson CJ. Am. J. Ind. Med. 2015; 58 (11), p. 1127-1137.

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