Introduction Migrant populations appear to be in general at greater risk than native populations for developing a number of diseases. However, the health and safety environments for these migrant populations are scarcely studied. The objective of this study is to compare the prevalence of risk exposures between migrant workers and Spain-native workers in Spain.
Methods Information gathered through the ongoing Platform of Longitudinal Studies of Immigrant Families (PELFI; started 2015) provides insight into the different kinds of health and safety risks that migrant and Spain-native workers experience. For the present study, migrants from Colombia, Morocco, and Ecuador, as well as Spanish controls make up a cohort of 473 workers. Data on sociodemographic variables (age, sex, and type of job) and self-reported occupational exposures were collected through face-to-face interview. Analysis of specific risks to worker health and safety focused on  frequency of exposure to chemical, psychosocial, and ergonomic hazards, and  employment arrangements. Data were analysed using STATA.
Results The overall frequency of hazardous exposure was consistently higher for migrants when compared to Spain-native workers. PELFI results show significant differences (p<0.05) between migrant and Spain-native workers for occupations involving heavy lifting (38.85% migrants; 19.35% natives), high heights (16.35%; 3.30%), repetitive movements (81.58%; 59.78%), chemical products (50.76%;18.28%);%), experiencing pain as a result of the work (59.39%; 1.57%), and standing long hours (67.68%; 19.35%). 26.32% of migrant workers and 15.48% of Spain-native workers reported that their salaries were insufficient to cover unexpected expenses.
Conclusion Migrant workers in this study are more frequently exposed to occupational risks than Spain-native workers. Although limitations exist regarding participants’ different perceptions of risk, results suggest that special attention must be paid to migrant workers in Spain. A promising area for future research seeks to understand the processes by which workers are differentially exposed to occupational risks.
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