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Issue 33, July 2014 

Tackling Health Inequities
for Low-Income Workers
When we think about low-income workers, we usually think about fast-food cashiers or migrant farmworkers, not construction workers. And it's true that skilled trades employees steadily employed in commercial construction work can command respectable, middle-class wages. But it's equally true that millions of workers on the margins of the building industry struggle to put together a living, vexed by irregular demand, low piecework rates, and even wage theft. Adding to their burden, low-income workers and their families suffer greater exposure to illness and injury at home and on the job, resulting in reduced life expectancy. 

doctor_patient.jpg Public health researchers and practitioners are increasingly adopting a "social ecological framework" perspective to respond. A worker is part of a company, a family, a church and a neighborhood, and what happens in one arena affects all the others. Family doctors and community clinics that treat these workers need to appreciate workplace hazards that might explain their symptoms; occupational safety and health personnel need to understand the challenges their employees might encounter in the home or community. 

Promoting integrated approaches to reducing health inequities among low-income workers: Applying a Social Ecological Framework examines a number of promising initiatives in this field. Presented by some of the nation's leading scholars in public and occupational health - including CPWR's own Laura Welch and Massachusetts Occupational Health Surveillance Program Director Letitia Davis, who serves on CPWR's advisory board - the article appears in the May 2014 edition of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. A summary of the key findings can be found on the CPWR website. 


Pete Stafford

Executive Director    


Recently Published Journal Articles by CPWR Scholars


Fatal falls in the U.S. residential construction industry. Xiuwen Sue Dong, Xuanwen Wang, Julie A. Largay, James W. Platner, Erich Stafford, Chris Trahan Cain, and Sang D. Choi. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, May 2014 (published online ahead of print).


Safety and health information: Improving online access and deliverySharon Garber, Eileen Betit, Mary Watters and Bruce Lippy. Professional Safety,
May 2014. 

Promoting integrated approaches to reducing health inequities among low-income workers: Applying a social ecological framework.Sherry L. Baron, Sharon Beard, Letitia K. Davis, Linda Delp, Linda Forst, Andrea Kidd-Taylor, Amy K. Liebman, Laura Linnan, Laura Punnett and Laura S. Welch. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, May 2014.

Union coverage and work-related training in the construction industry. C. Jeffrey Waddoups. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, April 2013.





Find the latest on regulatory efforts and Create-A-Plan to control exposures at Work Safely with Silica -- a one-stop source of information on how to prevent a silica hazard and protect workers 


eLCOSH  is the premier online source for construction health and safety information, with  research,  training materials, fact sheets and more 



Construction Solutions


Construction Solutions is a safety and health database designed with construction contractors and workers in mind - an inventory of common industry hazards paired with common-sense solutions



Visit CPWR for information on our training programs, research findings, and resources for your health and safety or research initiatives






 More than 1 million workers take part in OSHA's National Fall Safety 

Equipment World, 6/5/2014




 National Safety Stand-down to Prevent Falls in Construction begins today 


ISHN, 6/2/2014






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CPWR -- The Center for Construction Research and Training is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO. Working with partners like you in business, labor, government, and the universities, we strive every day to make work safer for the 9 million men and women who work in the U.S. construction industry!