In the year since the Labor Department announced that Hispanic worker safety was a growing concern for the Bush administration, OSHA has translated much of its website information into Spanish, started gathering demographics on fatalities involving Hispanic workers, and is searching for ways to reach at-risk workers.
John Miles, the OSHA Regional Administrator for Dallas heads the agency’s taskforce on Hispanic worker safety, cited a toll-free OSHA number now available in Spanish and a glossary that is being produced to give compliance officers the most commonly used Spanish words for workplace equipment.
“We at IEC would like to encourage employers to post these materials on bulletin boards or in safety newsletters for their employees,” said Marc Ramirez of Hatfield-Reynolds Electric Inc., in Phoenix, Ariz. Ramirez, who is active on IEC’s National Safety Committee, said that the problem might be that Hispanic workers are not aware of these important resources. “Not everyone has online access, so it helps to talk about these issues in safety meetings and make sure that resources are available to everyone through a variety of modes of communication.
About one year ago, Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao said that in 2000, the fatality rate for Hispanic workers had climbed by more than 11% while death rates for all other groups had declined. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2001, Hispanic worker deaths increased by 9%, from 815 workers killed in 2000 to 891 workers in 2001.