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Safety Engineers to Address Rising Hispanic Workplace Injuries at Las Vegas Conference

Posted in on Sun, Jun 8, 2008

Las Vegas, NV (June 8, 2008) — National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Director Dr. John Howard and Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Edwin Foulke, Jr., will address a meeting of the American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) Safety Professionals and the Latino Workforce (SPALW) group Tuesday, June 10 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Las Vegas Hilton (Conference Room 3) on the growing number of Hispanic worker injuries.This meeting is part of the annual ASSE Professional Development Conference and Exposition taking place June 9-12 in Las Vegas and featuring more than 200 educational sessions on occupational safety, health and the environment. More than 4000 people from 36 countries are attending the event. As for Hispanic workers recent NIOSH and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show in the U.S.:· During 2003–2006, 34 percent of Hispanic worker deaths occurred in the construction industry. · Work-related injury deaths among Hispanic workers during 1992–2006 totaled 11,303, approximately 13 percent of all U.S. work-related injury deaths during that period. · Median age of Hispanic decedents was 35 years, compared with a median age of 42 years for all workers. · Approximately 95 percent of Hispanic decedents were male. · The annual work-related injury death rate for Hispanic workers exceeded the rate for all U.S. workers every year during 1992–2006, with the exception of 1995. · In 2006, the work-related injury death rate for Hispanic workers was 5.0 per 100,000 Hispanic workers, compared with rates of 4.0 for all workers, 4.0 for non-Hispanic white workers, and 3.7 for non-Hispanic black workers.· During 2003–2006, the work-related injury death rate for foreign-born Hispanic workers was 5.9, compared with a rate of 3.5 for U.S.-born Hispanic workers. · During 1997–2006, highway incidents were the most common fatal event, with the exception of 2000 and 2006, when falls to a lower level were most common. · During 1992–1996, homicide was the most common fatal event among Hispanic workers.· Work-related homicides among Hispanics decreased 37 percent from 1992 to 2006, while the number of falls to a lower level increased approximately 370 percent during the same period.· The most common industries employing Hispanics who died from work-related injuries were construction (34 percent), administrative and waste services (11 percent), agriculture/forestry/fishing/hunting (10 percent), and transportation/warehousing (10 percent). · Of those states with 30 or more work-related injury deaths among Hispanics during 2003–2006, the highest numbers of fatalities were in California (773 deaths), Texas (687), and Florida (417); however, the highest fatality rates were in South Carolina (22.8 per 100,000 Hispanic workers), Oklahoma (10.3), Georgia (9.6), and Tennessee (8.9).ASSE Safety 2008 sessions addressing these issues and of interest to the Latino workforce include: session number 530 – How to implement a behavior-based auditing program for your Spanish-speaking workforce; 569, 620 and 744 – courses in Spanish; 615 – Are you prepared to effectively train your Hispanic workers?; 633 — Establishing an OSHA outreach training program in Latin-America: A Case Study in Quito, Ecuador; and, 702 – Bridging cultural differences. Go to member of the SPALW group noted two main concerns facing safety, health and environmental professionals who work with the Hispanic workforce to be 1) the ability to effectively communicate with each other due to differences in language and literacy levels, and 2) that many times cultural difference lead to misinterpretation of directions and intent. Hard feelings can occur with a loss in rapport and trust. SPALW members are addressing these issues.NIOSH notes that inadequate knowledge and control of recognized safety hazards and inadequate training and supervision of workers, often exacerbated by different languages and literacy levels of workers contributed to higher numbers of worker-related injury deaths among Hispanic workers.The SPALW group, ASSE and its general membership continue to work to prevent work-related injury deaths among all workers including Hispanics. SPALW members, through their meetings and dialogue, is working to promote to employers the need and the economic benefits for providing a safe work environment; provide employers of Hispanic workers with safety information; and, to identify and develop additional materials culturally appropriate and effective for workers who speak different languages and have varying levels of literacy. ASSE, SPALW, OSHA, NIOSH and many employers including city and counties countrywide provide resources and tools to help increase workplace safety for Hispanic workers and for their families. These include Spanish-language occupational safety and health materials and training information. For more information go to Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the largest and oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor and education. For more Safety 2008 information go to

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