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Professor Susan Bisom-Rapp in London

August 13, 2010

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Professor Susan Bisom-Rapp traveled to London (UK) to participate in an international conference on Health and Safety and Vulnerable Workers in a Changing World of Work.

The conference, was held on June 8th, and was co-hosted by Middlesex University School of Business (UK) and ADAPT, the Marco Biagi Study Center Prof. SBR in Londonof the University of Modena (Italy), features speakers from Britain, Italy, Australia, the US, and China, among others.

Professor Bisom-Rapp kicked off the second part of the conference with a plenary presentation titled “Deregulation, Safe Work, and Undocumented Workers in the New Economy — An Analysis of Novel Programming for America’s Most Vulnerable.”

In her talk, Professor Bisom-Rapp explored the challenges of pursuing occupational safety and health (OSH) improvements for unauthorized immigrant workers, and provide an analysis of university-based programs in California that have developed strategies for overcoming them.

Professor Bisom-Rapp identified four mechanisms in particular that make health and safety improvements possible for this population. More specifically, she argues OSH gains are possible through programs promoting:

1) occupationally-specific OSH capacity building, which train workers to work more safely and recognize hazardous conditions;

2) government agency navigational skills, which teach workers how to file claims;

3) networks of civil society groups, which provide worker support and reduce social isolation;

4) information sharing, both among workers and workers’ advocates and researchers, which can improve the efficacy of programming efforts.

“Gathering together to share research with top scholars in the field leads to cross-pollination and innovation,” said Professor Bisom-Rapp. “In fact, I will be bringing information back for my friends in San Diego at the Employee Rights Center,” she notes. “I have an appointment to chat with the ERC’s founding executive director, Peter Zschiesche, just days after I return home.”