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Missed Work Due to Occupational Illness among Hispanic Horse Workers

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 24(2): 89-107. (doi: 10.13031/jash.12735) @2018
Authors:   Ashley M. Bush, Susan Westneat, Steven R. Browning, Jennifer Swanberg
Keywords:   Agriculture, Health disparities, Horse workers, Missed work, Occupational illness, Worker absenteeism.

Abstract. Occupational illnesses are inadequately reported for agriculture, an industry dominated by a vulnerable Hispanic population and high fatal and nonfatal injury rates. Work-related illnesses can contribute to missed work, caused by a combination of personal and work factors, with costs to the individual, employer, and society. To better understand agricultural occupational illnesses, 225 Hispanic horse workers were interviewed via community-based convenience sampling. Descriptive statistics, bivariate analyses, and log binomial regression modeling were used to: (1) describe the prevalence of missed work due to work-related illnesses among Hispanic horse workers, (2) examine work-related and personal factors associated with missed work, and (3) identify health symptoms and work-related characteristics potentially associated with missed work. Key findings reveal that having at least one child (PR = 1.71, 95% CI = 1.03, 2.84), having poor self-reported general health (PR = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.48, 1.08), experiencing stress during a typical workday (PR = 2.58, 95% CI = 1.25, 5.32), or spending less time with horses (PR = 1.87, 95% CI = 1.15, 3.05) are significant predictors of missing work. Interventions can be designed to identify workers most susceptible to missing work and provide resources to reduce absenteeism. Future research should examine work-related illness in agricultural horse production, including personal and work-related factors, in order to diminish occupational health disparities among these workers, who are more likely to be employed in hazardous agricultural work.

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