California institutions team up to study the health of concert workers
The California Labor Laboratory opened to study the health of the California workforce and advance worker well-being, with a focus on on-stage workers, about whom little is known.
The initiative is a new creation formed out of UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley and the California Department of Public Health and is funded in part by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. The lab will begin by conducting a longitudinal study of 5,000 Californians of working age, organizing an educational program on lung disease prevention for industrial workers, and examining intersectional inequalities in the service sector.
The lab will also develop interventions such as protections, empowerment and tools for employers to help tangibly improve working conditions. This is in addition to the health research that the lab will be doing.
California’s concert workforce makes up about 40% of the total economy, by some estimates. People often do not benefit from the structural protections that traditional workers are, such as health insurance, job security or pension benefits. The California Labor Lab wants to shed light on the population and help develop a policy to protect them.
“The California Labor Lab is focused on understanding the implications for the health and well-being of workers, even when workers lack the systematic protections that come with traditional employment,” said Ed Yelin, PhD, the new director of the laboratory.
âHealthy workplaces benefit employers and employees – by increasing productivity and promoting well-being,â said Cristina Banks, PhD, who will assume the role of associate director of outreach for the lab. “The way we do business, the way we hire people, the way we treat people, our business model of getting the most out of an individual per unit of time, is a well-worn path that I would like to delete. “