Italian doctors’ understandings of work-related health and safety risks among women migrant home care workers Health, Risk & Society, 2022,



This article presents an exploratory study of how the social construction of risk, including stereotypes of migrant home care workers, as well as the character of official workplace health and safety regulation, may influence the ways in which occupational health risks are identified and managed by doctors. We focus our analysis upon migrant home care workers (HCWs) in Italy, who are exposed to multiple risks of developing physical and mental health problems. We begin by considering the reasons for the relative invisibility of HCWs’ health and safety risks, including wider constructions of women’s work as well as the ways these workers are treated by mainstream health and safety regulation. While Italian law requires employers to deploy occupational health doctors to monitor workers’ health and safety, work in domestic premises is excluded, so a HCW seeking certification of a workplace injury or illness would most likely approach her general practitioner (GP). However, little is known about GPs’ and other doctors’ awareness of the occupational origins of their patients’ illnesses and injuries. Our analysis starts to answer these questions through qualitative interviews with 16 doctors (mainly GPs) in Veneto regarding their understandings of migrant women’s health risks conducted between 2019 and 2020.