Health disparities between immigrant and Danish cleaners

  • Jørgensen M
  • Rasmussen C
  • Carneiro I
 et al. 
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PURPOSE: It is unknown whether immigrants working in the cleaning industry have a poorer health and work ability than cleaners from the native population. The main aim was to investigate differences in objective and self-reported health measures between immigrant and Danish cleaners.

METHODS: Three hundred and fifty-one cleaners, consisting of 166 Danes (88% women) and 179 immigrants (74% women) (6 with unknown ethnicity), from 9 workplaces in Denmark participated in the study. Health and work ability were obtained by objective (e.g., BMI and blood pressure) and self-reported measures (e.g., work ability, self-rated health, and musculoskeletal symptoms). In order to investigate differences between Danish and immigrant cleaners, logistic regression analyses and General Linear Models were performed.

RESULTS: When controlling for age, sex, workplace, job seniority, and smoking, more Danish compared with immigrant cleaners were current smokers (42% vs. 28%, p 
CONCLUSIONS: Although the health of the cleaners was alarmingly poor, the immigrant cleaners generally had a poorer self-reported health and work ability than the Danish cleaners. These findings highlight the need for occupational health actions among cleaners, particularly tailored to the immigrant subpopulation.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cleaning industry
  • Migrant worker
  • Occupational health
  • Work ability

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  • Marie B. Jørgensen

  • Charlotte D.N. Rasmussen

  • Isabella G. Carneiro

  • Mari Ann Flyvholm

  • Kasper Olesen

  • Dorte Ekner

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