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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2018, Article ID 8710901, 8 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/8710901
Research Article

Self-Reported Occupational Injuries and Perceived Occupational Health Problems among Latino Immigrant Swine Confinement Workers in Missouri

1Center for Reducing Health Disparities, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 984340 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-4340, USA
2Rural Community Workers Alliance, 110 E. 3rd St., Milan, MO 63556, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Athena K. Ramos; ude.cmnu@somara

Received 30 December 2017; Revised 12 May 2018; Accepted 23 May 2018; Published 19 June 2018

Academic Editor: Riccardo Buccolieri

Copyright © 2018 Athena K. Ramos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Swine production has changed dramatically, and in the United States production often takes place in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Because of the size and density of these types of facilities, workers may be exposed to serious occupational health risks such as noxious gases, agricultural dusts, elevated noise levels, and zoonotic diseases. This descriptive study examines self-reported occupational injuries and perceived occupational health problems among a convenience sample of 40 Latino immigrant swine confinement workers (92.5% male; M age = 36.1 years; SD = 10.0) in Missouri. Results indicated that seventeen workers (42.5%) rated their health as fair or poor, thirteen (32.5%) had experienced an occupational injury, and eleven (28.2%) reported occupational health problems such as burning eyes, muscular pain, headaches, coughing, nausea, nasal congestion, and sneezing. The majority of workers did not perceive their job to be dangerous. Clearly, more must be done to protect workers, especially immigrant workers, who may not have the same access to information, training, or other protections. Health and safety should be a priority for both farmworkers and farm employers. Practical and policy-based implications and recommendations are discussed.