Occupational Health and Safety Status of Indigenous and Latino Farmworkers in Oregon

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Davis, Shelley;
  • Farquhar, Stephanie A.;
  • Goff, Nancy M.;
  • Rao, Pamela;
  • Samples, Julie;
  • Sanchez, Valentin;
  • Shadbeh, Nargess;
  • Ventura, Santiago


Exposure to pesticides poses great risk to agricultural workers and their families. Of the approximately 174,000 agricultural workers in Oregon, studies estimate that up to 40% of the workers in Oregon are indigenous and may be particularly vulnerable to the health risks of working in pesticide treated areas. Surveys conducted with Oregon farmworkers suggest that Latino and indigenous farmworkers differ demographically and may have diverse occupational and health needs. All Latino workers reported Spanish as their native language, while indigenous workers spoke several different native languages. Latino workers were employed mostly in orchards (28%) and nurseries (24%), while indigenous workers were mostly pickers (40%). Indigenous farmworkers reported less frequent suitable occupational safety training, and potentially less knowledge of the health consequences of pesticides. Addressing the barriers to obtaining pesticide health and safety information is of primary importance, given the changing demographics of farmworkers in Oregon. This article concludes with a discussion of these findings and the programmatic activities that have been implemented in Oregon to improve farmworkers' understanding of hazards and rights associated with agricultural work.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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