New yearbook highlights worker health and safety research from the last year

Researchers who investigate the impact of the work environment on health contributed dozens of papers to the peer-reviewed literature over the past 12 months. Scholars and advocates with non-profit organizations also published reports on various topics related to worker rights and safety. The final section of “The Year in U.S. Occupational Health & Safety” highlights some of this important and impressive research.

A particularly prominent topic in scientific journals addressed the heat-exposure experiences of farm workers. We profile two papers that report on the feasibility of using an ingested temperature sensor to measure core body temperatures. We also highlight a study on the relationship between outdoor humidity and injury risk. Other papers involving farm workers and heat exposure examined the prevalence of dehydration and interventions to prevent it.

We also profile research papers that examine hazards faced by healthcare workers. We describe two papers on the effectiveness of violence prevention program and a third paper on healthcare workers’ exposure to antineoplastic drugs.

Workers’ experiences with musculoskeletal (MSD) injuries were also the subject of numerous papers over the past 12 months. We profile papers on MSD topics involving construction workers, custodians, and health- and home-care workers. In addition, we describe a few of the articles published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that addressed occupational health topics.

The yearbook’s section on research would be incomplete if we didn’t provide synopses for many of the reports published on worker health and safety topics by non-profit organizations. We profile 18 of them in the yearbook, including:

  • “Dirty threads, dangerous factors: Health and safety in Los Angeles’ fashion industry” by the Garment Worker Center, UCLA Labor Center, and UCLA-LOSH.
  • Mapping the landscape of low-wage work and health in Syracuse,” by the Occupational Health Clinical Center.
  • “The dirty dozen: Employers who put workers & communities at risk,” by National COSH.

Photos from the report “Milked” (courtesy of Migrant Justice).

  • “Build a better South: Construction working conditions in the southern U.S.” by the Workers Defense Project, Partnership for Working Families, et al.
  • “Milked: Immigrant dairy farmworkers in New York State,” by the Workers’ Center of Central New York and the Worker Justice Center of New York.

We close out the yearbook with an appendix of 60 citations. They are our picks for the best papers published in the peer-reviewed literature in the past 12 months.

Recaps of the other sections are here, here, and here.

The five previous editions of the yearbook can be found here.