Protecting Worker Health in Hazardous Occupations

Image of a person working on a farm with green fields and tractors in background.

Fall 2023 Symposium: Protecting Worker Health in Hazardous Occupations

Friday, October 27, 2023
9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Virtual via WebEx

Presented by:
Portland State University, Department of Occupational Health Psychology - Total Worker Health® Training Program
Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, OHSU

About this event

Join us this fall in uncovering the layered challenges facing workers in hazardous occupations and learn about unique strategies for protecting worker health. 

The International Labor Organization emphasizes the importance of addressing the challenges faced by workers in dirty, difficult, and dangerous jobs. This symposium aims to shed light on the need for comprehensive health protection for these workers and to explore practical and regulatory measures that can contribute to more equitable workplaces. Participants can expect to learn and explore: 

  • Emerging issues within hazardous occupations: in particular, forestry, agriculture, construction, and mining sectors will be discussed with emphasis on current data and perspectives from multiple stakeholders.   

  • Who are at high-risk: underserved communities, including migrant and informal economy workers, often find themselves in hazardous occupations. These workers are at an increased risk of discrimination, limited access to healthcare, and reduced workplace protections. 

  • How to foster a total health culture: ensuring health and safety for all in hazardous occupations is not easy. The Total Worker Health® approach will be discussed with specific examples to shed light on how it is s possible to integrate protection from both visible and invisible hazards in these occupations. 

Overall, the symposium will bring together the voices of researchers, policymakers, union leaders, workers, and other stakeholders to share insights and collaborate on finding ways to enhance worker health and safety in challenging work environments for all.

This symposium qualifies for 5.5 hours of professional development credits from the Society of Resource Management.


Dirty, Difficulty, and Dangerous--A Call for Solutions to Hazardous Work

Tori Crain, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Portland State University

Tori Crain

Dr. Crain completed her master's and doctorate degrees in Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology and Occupational Health Psychology (OHP) at Portland State University in 2015. Prior to graduate school, Dr. Crain completed her BA in Psychology at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA and then spent time working as a research assistant for the Sleep and Performance Research Center at Washington State University, where she first learned about sleep science and its importance for working populations. Following graduate school, Dr. Crain completed a post-doc at the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center, a NIOSH Total Worker Health Center of Excellence, where she was trained in the development and implementation of randomized controlled trials within organizational field settings to improve employee health and safety. More recently, Dr. Crain spent five years as an assistant professor in the I-O Psychology Program at Colorado State University and as an affiliate faculty member at the Center for Health, Work & Environment at the Colorado School of Public Health. In 2020, Dr. Crain was fortunate enough to return home to her alma mater, Portland State University.

Renee Stapleton

Renee Stapleton,
Oregon OSHA

Description: Learn about some of the hazards Oregon workers are exposed and resources available to mitigate them.

Bio: Renee Stapleton has a degree in Fire Service Administration and has worked in the field of safety for more than 20 years, and for Oregon OSHA for over 15 years. During her time with Oregon OSHA, she was a Compliance Officer, Safety Enforcement Manager, Consultation Manager, and Policy Manager.

Forgotten Minorities and Hazardous Work

Diana Stone, Ph.D.
Research Professor, University of New Mexico
Visiting Professor, State University of New York, Albany
Affiliate Professor, Virginia Tech.

Professor Dianna Stone

Dr. Stone received her Ph.D. from Purdue University, and is a Research Professor at the University of New Mexico, visiting professor at the University at Albany, and an affiliate professor at Virginia Tech. Her research focuses on diversity and stigmatization in organizations, electronic human resource management, the digital divide, and privacy in organizations.  

Her most recent 2023 book, Forgotten Minorities in Organizations, focuses on communities of people who experience unfair discrimination and oppression in organizations, yet have received less focus. People with neurological or psychological disabilities, veterans, Native Americans, people with a criminal history, and those who come from low socioeconomic or poor backgrounds are often overlooked when examining marginalization, in the workplace.  

Existing Challenges and Solutions in Hazardous Industries

Rachel Madjlesi

Rachel Madjlesi, MPH, CHI
Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences
Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program
Oregon Health & Science University

Rachel Madjlesi is a Certified Industrial Hygienist and the Fatality Investigator for the Oregon FACE (Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation) Program at OHSU.  She holds an MPH from Oregon State University, and is currently a doctoral student in Safety Sciences at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (hybrid program). Prior to working at OHSU, Rachel worked as an Environmental Health and Safety Manager for almost 10 years primarily in manufacturing.

Tim Bauerle

Tim Bauerle, Ph.D., - Panelist
Behavioral Scientist
National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health

Tim Bauerle is a research behavioral scientist in the Miner Health Branch with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Spokane Mining Research Division (SMRD). He holds a doctorate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of Connecticut, with concentrations in Occupational Health Psychology and Quantitative Research Methodology. Currently, he serves as the Principal Investigator of the “Rise and Mine” project, the goal of which is to develop resources that assist mining industry leaders in choosing and applying successful fatigue mitigation strategies that will better support their workers to be well-rested and ready through every shift.

Lola Loustaunau

Lola Loustaunau, Ph.D. - Panelist
Assistant Professor
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Lola Loustaunau (she/her/ella), holds BA in Political Science from the University of Buenos Aires, MS, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Oregon and is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve of San Francisco. As a researcher, teacher, and activist, Dr. Loustaunau has led multiple research projects focusing on job quality, public policy, and collective organizing. Her work has been published in Labor Studies Journal, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, and Sociological Perspectives. Her recent research focuses on the working conditions of migrant workers in food processing in Oregon and Washington, particularly looking at the bodily and emotional impacts of the work and the workers’ experiences of resistance and collective action. 

Kate Suisman

Kate Suisman, JD
Northwest Workers' Justice Project

Suisman represents workers in employment cases including wage theft and retaliation. She also coordinates two policy groups: the Oregon Coalition to Stop Wage Theft and Safe Jobs Oregon which focuses on worker safety and the National Coalition for Worker Justice, which focuses on advocacy to federal worker enforcement agencies. Before joining the Northwest Workers’ Justice Project, Kate worked to fight wage theft within the day labor community at the Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project in Portland. In her previous work, she served as a law clerk in a trial court in Manhattan and Chief of Staff to a New York City Council member. Kate has a BA in Spanish Literature from Reed College and a JD from the City University of New York’s Public Interest Law School.

Marcy Harrington

Marcy Harrington, MPH
Research Coordinator, Evaluation Lead
Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center
University of Washington

Marcy Harrington is a founding member and manager of the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health (PNASH) Center based at the University of Washington School of Public Health. Ms. Harrington holds a B.S. in Forestry and Masters in Public Affairs and brings her passion for forestry and rural communities to PNASH Center's injury prevention research and communications.

Fostering Collaborative Leadership in Construction for Employee Health, Safety, and Well-being

Description: Features of the construction industry make it challenging to protect and promote employee health. This talk will describe key features of the construction industry, common health, safety, and well-being challenges, and discuss leadership-based approaches to protecting and promoting construction worker health.

Natalie Schwatka

Natalie Schwatka, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental & Occupational Health
Colorado School of Public Health
University of Colorado

Dr. Natalie Schwatka's primary research focus is on how the working environment – business strategies, leadership practices, and organizational climate – can be used to protect and promote workers’ health, safety, and well-being with a particular focus on intervention, dissemination, and implementation research. She uses multiple sources of health data to conduct occupational health and safety surveillance and predictive modeling to understand workplace health and safety. She is the Director of the NIOSH Mountain and Plains Education and Research Center (MAP ERC) Certificate in Total Worker Health® (TWH) program. She also serves as the Research Core Director of the Center for Health, Work & Environment's TWH Center of Excellence where she directs the TWH Pilot Project Program.

Engaging Unions in Total Worker Health

Description: One goal of unions is to help workers ensure that their working conditions are safe and contribute to their well-being. In occupations like healthcare and corrections workers often face increased instances of workplace violence and developing tools for workers and their advocates to address workplace violence is an important Total Worker Health issue. Learn some of the challenges these workers face and tools to help them have a voice in addressing their health, safety, and well-being through a worker-led design process to implement Total Worker Health.

Serena Rice

Serena Rice
Project Manager and Lead Trainer
Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace

Serena Rice has over 20 years of experience developing and delivering organizational training with a focus on communication and facilitation. Since joining CPH-NEW in 2017, Serena has collaborated with workers in healthcare, corrections, education, and unions, to create evidence-based workplace interventions and training that protect and promote worker health, safety, and well-being.

Addressing Agricultural Worker Health Risks through AgriSafe's Total Farmer Health® Model

Tara Haskins

Tara Haskins, Ph.D.
Total Farmer Health Director

Description: According to the USDA 2017 census data, there are 3.4 million farmers working in the United States. The agriculture industry is one of the top occupations, with some of the highest rates of injury and deaths by suicide. The factors contributing to this dynamic are many and unique to this workforce. Agricultural communities live in rural areas where healthcare disparities exist, making the health and safety of this population even more challenging. This session will showcase the Total Farmer Health® model and a review of the factors affecting the physical and mental health and safety of individuals working in agriculture. This session will showcase AgriSafe’s mental health programming, initiatives, and the AgriStress Helpline- the first 24/7 call/text crisis line for agricultural communities newly launched in Oregon. 

Bio: AgriSafe is a national agricultural health and safety nonprofit where Dr. Haskins serves as Director of Total Farmer Health.  Haskins has 36 years of registered nursing experience, 17 years in healthcare education, and is a board-certified Advanced Holistic Nurse. In addition to overseeing partnerships to support AgriSafe’s Total Farmer Health initiatives, Haskins is responsible for AgriSafe’s mental health programming, lead for FarmResponse training and quality assurance for the AgriStress Helpline, the only 24/7 suicide crisis/resource line for the agricultural community currently in 7 states. Haskins holds an MSN in Psychiatric Family Mental Health-Nurse Practitioner from the University of Texas at Arlington and a DNP in Nursing Forensics from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Haskins is a 2018 Rural Health Fellow from the National Rural Health Association. 

COVID 19 Farmworker Project

Jennifer Martinez-Medina

Jennifer Martinez-Medina, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Politics, Policy, Law, and Ethics
Willamette University

Dr. Jennifer Martinez-Medina is an assistant professor in the Politics, Policy, Law, and Ethics Department at Willamette University. Her work is interdisciplinary and broadly compares how globalization impacts expressions of community care, kinship, and political rights across borders. Specifically, she examines how groups challenge conditions of racial inequality by studying migrant knowledge systems and remittance transactions as mobilization techniques utilized within and beyond the state through the lenses of farmworkers, immigrant veterans, and other diaspora groups. She was also the principal investigator of the Oregon Covid-19 Farmworker Study, a collaborative research project with a team of social science researchers from Portland State University, University of Oregon, and Oregon State University in partnership with fourteen farmworkers serving community-based organizations to inform pandemic responses, with autonomous studies across the west coast facilitated by the California Institute for Rural Studies. 

Lynn Stephen

Lynn Stephen, Ph.D.
Phillip H. Knight Chair
Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences
Department of Anthropology
University of Oregon

Lynn Stephen, Philip H. Knight Chair and Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Anthropology, focuses her research on immigration and asylum, gendered violence, race, transborder communities, Latinx and Mesoamerican Indigenous Communities in Mexico, Guatemala and in diaspora in California and the Northwest.  Her current research explores access to justice for survivors of gendered violence, the impact of COVID-19 on farmworker health and well-being, and mapping Mesoamerican Indigenous languages and communities in diaspora in the U.S. Her two most recent books are: Stories that Make History: Remembering Mexico through Elena Poniatowska’s Crónicas. Duke University Press, 2021 and Indigenous Women and Violence: Feminist Activist Research in Heightened States of Injustice, co-edited with Shannon Speed. University of Arizona Press, 2021. 

Valentin Sanchez

Valentin Sanchez
Community Educator and Paralegal
Oregon Law Center

Mr. Sánchez is a Senior Paralegal at the Oregon Law Center, Farmworker Program, where he has made significant contributions since 2002. With his wealth of experience, Mr. Sánchez’s primary role is outreach to farmworkers and community engagement throughout the state of Oregon, employing a diverse range of methods such as providing engaging and interactive presentations, delivering informative radio shows, participating in resource events, and visiting with farmworkers through home visits including visits to employer-provided labor housing. His dedication to inclusivity is evident in his ability to develop educational materials in various indigenous languages, including Mixteco, Triqui, Zapoteco, Mam, and others. Mr. Sánchez also lends his expertise by assisting with employment-related cases, including wage claims, health and safety issues, and discrimination. He has participated in numerous litigation teams and has actively participated in research projects focusing on occupational health and safety, as well as workplace sexual harassment faced by farmworkers. Through his extensive community engagement efforts and speaking with workers regarding employment-related matters, Mr. Sánchez has gained a profound understanding of the challenges confronting farmworkers in Oregon. Mr. Sánchez was appointed in 2018 to serve on the Environmental Justice Task Force, which has since evolved into the Environmental Justice Council, amplifying the voices of underrepresented communities in discussions surrounding climate justice, workplace health & safety, and environmental health. In addition to his professional endeavors at the Oregon Law Center, Mr. Sánchez is pursuing a degree in Sociology and Environmental Studies at Linfield University. He serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Unidos Bridging Community, a nonprofit organization based in Yamhill County serving the Latinx community.