Latino worker perceptions of construction hazards

Document Type



Background: Construction is a hazardous occupation, with Latino (Hispanic) workers at a greater risk for death than other ethnicity/races. Latinos accounted for over half of construction injuries involving days away from work in Nevada in 2006.

Methods: This study recruited 30 Latino construction workers from three Southern Nevada trade unions to participate in four focus groups conducted in Spanish to determine their perceived risks for injury. Audiotapes were transcribed into English transcripts, which were analyzed for themes.

Results: Themes included language/communication difficulties, traditional Latino values, construction trade skill level differences, and health literacy. Participants were unfamiliar with the workers' compensation system.

Conclusions: Small contractors in particular should provide more effective safety training in Spanish and appropriate safety equipment. Unions should offer English language training using simulation and more information about workers' compensation rights. Occupational health providers should consider Latino beliefs and communication needs when assessing health status or providing care.


Construction industry – Accidents; Construction industry –Safety measures; Construction workers – Wounds and injuries; Health disparities; Hispanic Americans; Industrial accidents; Industrial safety; Occupational injury; Occupational safety; Vulnerable population


Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing | Other Nursing | Public Health and Community Nursing

Publisher Citation

Menzel, N. & Gutierrez, A. (2010). Latino worker perceptions of construction hazards. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 53 (2), 179-187.

UNLV article access

Search your library