Employers with a Spanish-speaking workforce can now take advantage of the numerous Spanish language compliance assistance resources OSHA has made available to help reduce the incidence of workplace injuries and illnesses among Hispanic workers.
Hispanic workers continue to be disproportionately injured and killed on the job. In 2003, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 791 Hispanic workers were killed on the job, a figure that accounts for 14% of the 5,559 total deaths that occurred in United States workplaces. The 791 deaths represented a fatality rate 13% higher than the rate for all workers.
OSHA has made immigrant worker workplace safety a priority within the Agency and is committed to identifying ways to improve the safety and health of immigrant and other hard-to-reach workers. In furtherance of such effort, OSHA has developed numerous Spanish-language compliance assistance tools and resources designed to assist employers and workers with their Hispanic outreach activities. Such resources include safety cards, booklets, posters, electronic compliance assistance tools, training and various cooperative programs.
Employers who need help reaching out to their Spanish-speaking employees are, therefore, encouraged to turn to OSHA for assistance. For example, the OSHA Web page (www.osha.gov) offers numerous Spanish-language compliance assistance tools and resources including:
- The Hispanic Employers and Workers Compliance Assistance Web Page, which identifies Spanish-language compliance assistance resources available from OSHA as well as other federal agencies and non-governmental organizations.
- OSHA developed nine English-to-Spanish/Spanish-English Dictionaries that consist of over 2000 general OSHA, general industry and construction industry terms. The dictionaries are intended to assist OSHA, Susan Harwood Training Grant Awardees and others in their Spanish-language translation initiatives.
In addition, OSHA has made available Spanish-language materials for employers to distribute to their Hispanic workers. Examples of Spanish-language publications available from OSHA include:
- All About OSHA
- Cold Stress Card
- Fall Protection
- Fact Sheets on various topics including personal protective equipment, preventing falls, lockout/tagout, and workplace violence.
OSHA, through cooperation with state agencies, also offers multiple Spanish-language training options to help Hispanic employers and employees improve their knowledge of safe and healthful work practices. For example, the Oregon State Plan PESO Training Program has various Spanish-language modules on different topics including hazard communication, and manual material handling.
Employers may also contact OSHA’s Diverse Workforce/Limited English Proficiency Coordinators who assist small businesses with outreach, education, and training of Spanish-speaking workers and other diverse employees.The coordinators are available for seminars, workshops, and speaking events. They promote cooperative programs, such as the Alliance Program, as well as Spanish/other than English training materials, compliance assistance resources, and tools that are available on the OSHA Web site. There is one Hispanic/ESL Coordinator in each of the ten OSHA Regions.