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Effects of Social, Economic, and Labor Policies on Occupational Health Disparities

Carlos Eduardo Siqueira, MD, ScD, Megan Gaydos, MPH, Celeste Monforton, Dr PH, MPH, Craig Slatin, ScD, MPH, Liz Borkowski, BA, Peter Dooley, MS, CIH, CSP, Amy Liebman, MPA, MA, Erica Rosenberg, JD, Glenn Shor, PhD, MPP, and Matthew Keifer, MD, MPH

Background This article introduces some key labor, economic, and social policies that historically and currently impact occupational health disparities in the United States.

Methods We conducted a broad review of the peer-reviewed and gray literature on the effects of social, economic, and labor policies on occupational health disparities.

Results Many populations such as tipped workers, public employees, immigrant workers, and misclassified workers are not protected by current laws and policies, including worker’s compensation or Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforcement of standards. Local and state initiatives, such as living wage laws and community benefit agreements, as well as multiagency law enforcement contribute to reducing occupational health disparities.

Conclusions There is a need to build coalitions and collaborations to command the resources necessary to identify, and then reduce and eliminate occupational disparities by establishing healthy, safe, and just work for all.