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Gaceta Sanitaria

versión impresa ISSN 0213-9111


GARCIA, Ana M.  y  PROYECTO ITSAL et al. Occupational health of immigrant workers in Spain [ITSAL Project]: key informants survey. Gac Sanit [online]. 2009, vol.23, n.2, pp.91-97. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objective: To describe the characteristics, working conditions, and occupational health situation of immigrant workers in Spain through key informants. Method: We performed a qualitative, exploratory and descriptive study using indepth interviews carried out in 2006. Organizations and associations working with immigrant collectives in Alicante, Barcelona, Huelva, Madrid and Valencia were identified and the most representative and accessible entities in each location were selected. Fortythree interviews were performed with key informants from 34 different organisms. A narrative content analysis was performed. Results: Informants described difficulties in having health problems recognized as workrelated, due to irregular and precarious employment, employers' and insurance companies' reluctance, and immigrants' lack of knowledge. Informants coincided in reporting that the occupational risks for immigrant workers did not differ from those affecting Spanish workers in the same occupations and circumstances. However, exposure to occupational risks was exacerbated in immigrants because of their greater presence in unqualified jobs and their economic need to prolong working hours. Immigrants had little knowledge of their occupational health and safetyrelated rights, although some informants detected an increase in empowerment in this area, mostly through greater participation in trade unions. Conclusions: This first step allowed us to identify some of the general factors influencing the health and safety of immigrant workers in Spain. This information will be used in a longterm, ongoing research project [Project Immigration, Work and Health (Proyecto Inmigración, Trabajo y Salud [ITSAL]), which aims to evaluate occupational health problems in inmigrants working in Spain through both qualitative and quantitative methods.

Palabras clave : Emigration and Immigration; Occupational health; Qualitative research; Health education.

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