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Workplace health & safety

"A Novel Use of Latent Class Analysis to Identify Patterns of Workplace Hazards among Informally Employed Domestic Workers in 14 Cities, United States, 2011–2012." Annals of Work Exposures and Health (2022).
  • Authors: Emily Wright, Jarvis T. Chen, Jason Beckfield, Nik Theodore, Paulina López González, and Nancy Krieger
  • We analyzed data from the sole nationwide survey of informally employed US domestic workers with work-related hazards data (2011–2012; N = 2086). We used exploratory latent class analysis to identify groups of domestic workers with distinct patterns of exposure to economic, social, and occupational workplace hazards (e.g. pay violations, verbal abuse, heavy lifting). We then used multinomial logistic latent class regression to examine associations between workers’ individual, household, and occupational characteristics and latent class membership.
"Beyond occupational hazards: abuse of day laborers and health." Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health 22, no. 6 (2020): 1172-1183.
  • Author: Alein Y. Haro, Randall Kuhn, Michael A. Rodriguez, Nik Theodore, Edwin Melendez, and Abel Valenzuela
  • With the increase in labor market flexibility and worksite immigration enforcement, day labor is a common type of informal employment arrangement among immigrants. Our study contextualized day laborers’ physical and mental health within work- and community-level factors. We use a nationally representative sample of 2015 day laborers from the National Day Labor Survey. Multivariable logistic regression models estimated the association of occupational and socioenvironmental abuses with self-rated health (SRH), a positive PHQ-2 screening, morbidities, and workplace injuries. Employer abuse was associated with fair/poor SRH, workplace injuries, morbidity, and PHQ-2; business owner abuse was associated with PHQ-2 and workplace injuries; and crime and having a dangerous job are both associated with workplace injuries. Health disadvantages stem from unsafe occupational conditions and an overlapping array of adverse social experiences. These findings highlight the need to develop and evaluate policies that protect all workers regardless of socioeconomic position and immigration status.
 "Workplace health and safety hazards faced by informally employed domestic workers in the United States." Workplace Health & Safety 67, no. 1 (2019): 9-17.
  • Authors: Nik Theodore, Beth Gutelius, and Linda Burnham
  • Informally employed domestic workers encounter a range of workplace hazards, though these have been poorly documented and are typically left unacknowledged. Safety concerns include exposure to toxic cleaning products, a high prevalence of ergonomic injuries, and inadequate access to medical care. Presenting the results of an in-person survey of 2,086 informally employed nannies, housecleaners, and caregivers in 14 U.S. cities, this article documents the range of common health and safety hazards faced by domestic workers and suggests some interventions that could improve their working conditions. The survey was conducted in nine languages and data were collected from workers from 71 countries, including a substantial proportion with irregular immigration status. We observed that substandard workplace health and safety conditions are shaped by three aspects of domestic work: long-standing exclusions from federal employment protections, the common disregard of the home as a workplace, and the complexity of care work and the bonds of intimacy that often form through caregiving. Together these factors have served to perpetuate substandard working conditions. Regulatory reforms, as well as worker and employer education, are necessary to improve health outcomes for domestic workers.
"Day Labourers' Work Related Injuries: An Assessment of Risks, Choices, and Policies." International Migration 54, no. 3 (2016): 5-19.
  • Authors: Edwin Meléndez, M. Anne Visser, Abel Valenzuela Jr, and Nik Theodore
  • Literature and theory surrounding the informal economy in international contexts suggest that informal work arrangements may entail assuming various levels of risk, and that the higher the level of risk in an employment arrangement, the higher the premium paid to the worker. This study is designed to assess if a wage compensation for risk exists within the United States' day labour job market - the most visible sector of the United States' informal economy. Using data from the 2005 National Day Labour Survey we find a statistically significant wage premium indicating that a risk-wage tradeoff within the day labour informal economy exists. Ultimately, we argue that current policy interventions facilitated through day labour centres into the day labour market appear to be effective in mitigating the risks associated with this type of employment.