Background

"I have attended several trainings…and of course I understand how we must work to prevent falls. During the training, we can wear different body harnesses and the instructor explain to us very well how we can use … But then when you go back to the worksite, you don't find all those elements that they showed you during the training. If you ask for them, they [contractor/supervisor] get upset… I know that it is good to know how we must protect ourselves, but sometime I think I am wasting my time. Why do I need to attend more training if when I back to work, the contractor isn't providing us with harnesses or other things we need to work safer?"

Hispanic construction worker

"They also said that when we need to work in a ladder and we don't have a way to tie it to the wall, we must work in groups. Somebody has to hold the ladder while you are on it working. But when you are in the workplace, the supervisor doesn't allow you to work with other mate. They said "I pay you for working not for holding a ladder. If you can't do the work by yourself just let me know and I will find other one."

Hispanic construction worker

Those quotes from the "Proteccion en Construction" program show some realities faced by a significant number of Hispanic workers (PenC Program). Moreover, a quick glimpse of the investigations of fatal occupational injuries among Hispanic workers conducted by the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program provides interesting input about contributing factors such as

  1. inappropriate fall arrest system anchorage method;

  2. failure to consider and prepare for the environmental conditions of the work area;

  3. a work procedure that requires workers to enter the trash truck bed during and after loading operations, where they are exposed to potential fall hazards; and

  4. use of conductive ladders in proximity to energized overhead power lines and so on (NIOSH 2015).

Although some recommendations emphasize the importance of providing training in the worker's language, most of the contributing factors lie at the organizational level. Lack of proficiency in English might be an immediate factor, but it is not always a root cause of injuries among Hispanic workers.

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