Cadernos de Psicologia Social do Trabalho
Print version ISSN 1516-3717
RUMIN, Cassiano Ricardo; NAVARRO, Vera Lucia and PERIOTO, Nelson Wanderley. Work and health in São Paulo state agribusiness: a study on sugar cane manual harvesters in the western region of São Paulo state. Cad. psicol. soc. trab. [online]. 2008, vol.11, n.2, pp. 193-207. ISSN 1516-3717.
This article is the result of a study with rural workers employed in sugar cane harvesting. The qualitative study aimed at investigating, with basis on work process analysis, the labor conditions in sugar cane harvesting and at relating them to health problems reported by the workers. The data were obtained from direct observation of the work process, photographic documentation and semi-guided interviews. Seven field visits were performed and 11 sugar cane manual harvesters were interviewed (four females and seven males). They were 24 to 53 years old and all lived in the city of Pacaembu (SP). A health care professional living in the same city was also interviewed. The interviews were taped-recorded and fully transcribed. The results showed that the combined action of work intensification and increase in the difficulty to perform certain tasks can determine an increase in the occurrence of illnesses related to the workers' labor activity. Such illnesses are expressed by constant cramps, affections in the osteomuscular system (repetitive strain injuries, bursitis, tendinitis, spinal cord injuries) and dehydration. Even when work does not lead to physical damage, it leaves marks by means of psychic suffering.
Keywords : Rural work; Sugar cane harvesters; Worker's health; Rural workers.