Safety first? : looking at a non-traditional safety training program for Spanish-speaking construction workers

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2012-12

Authors

Prochnow, Allison Nicole

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Abstract

Construction is a very deadly industry with Texas having the highest rate of deaths of construction workers of any state. Hispanic workers are at an even higher risk than white, non-Hispanic workers for being injured or killed while working on a construction site. However, traditional materials available through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to train workers in job safety cannot effectively reach the Hispanic construction worker population because of language and educational barriers. This study examines a non-traditional safety training program tailored specifically for Spanish monolingual construction workers in order to reach these otherwise hard-to-reach workers, created by Workers Defense Project (WDP) in Austin, Texas, through a Department of Labor grant. Through participatory learning techniques, WDP has had a high rate of success in educating low-literacy, Spanish monolingual construction workers on workplace safety and rights. Through further evaluation of this program, the unique methods utilized in this training can be developed and applied in other areas and industries to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities in construction and other hazardous industries.

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