Autonomous Metropolitan University Xochimilco
The concern for workers’ health has increased in Latin America during the last decade both on the part of research institutions and trade unions. A special emphasis has been given to active participation of workers not just in the transformation of working conditions to improve health but also in generation of knowledge. This paper presents an action oriented participatory research methodology based on a collective questionnaire that permits the recollection of data on characteristics of the labour process, risks and health damage. A comparison between the information on risks, health damage and the relationship risks-damage obtained with this methodology and those of an individual questionnaire applied at the same steel factory shows that the results produced are very similar. In view of these findings in is concluded that the participatory methodology has some important advantages over traditional methodologies since it provides qualitative information on the labour process, a precise picture of the main risks and how they are produced and semi-quantitative data on health damage, and at the same time, generates a process of consciousness and organization among workers that enables them to promote health oriented action.