The best construction companies in America are being recognized for protecting their workers with dual-language OSHA-required safety training.
These companies are tackling a problem head-on and turning it around. The problem is that, nationwide, Spanish-speaking employee fatalities continue to rise. Every week, more than 14 Hispanic or Latino workers are killed on the job. When these men and women die, they leave behind families—spouses and children who love them and who count on them for survival.
More employers these days are motivated to do the right thing. They’re stopping these tragedies before they break ground at the job site. They know it’s not always about the bottom line. Sometimes it’s about ensuring that a hard hat is worn correctly. Or that scaffolding is erected and used properly. Or that a 50-foot lanyard isn’t nailed to a roof with a ten-penny nail.
If your workplace offers safety training to workers (or if you’re looking to start a program), it’s crucial that you not exclude the health and safety needs of your Spanish-speaking employees. Dual-language training is becoming common at companies that take on large projects. And smaller projects are also finding training to be convenient and affordable, thanks to the flexibility of online safety training.
Here’s an example that got a lot of attention for doing safety training the right way. A few years ago, the Dallas-Fort Worth airport proved that a massive dual-language construction project can be a safe environment for our employees and contractors. The airport, which is the second-largest airport in the United States, moves almost 60 million passengers annually.
When DFW’s Capital Development Program began the construction of a $2.7 billion improvement project that included the world’s largest airport train and a 2,000,000-square-foot terminal/hotel development, it partnered with the primary contractors on the project (Hensel Phelps Construction Company and Austin Commercial) to provide 40-hour construction safety training in English and Spanish to 14,000 workers.
By the time the project was complete, the airport and its workers had set a safety record by logging 21 million work hours without a fatality or serious accident while consistently maintaining an accident incident rate below the national average.
The program used a mix of classroom and hands-on lab work to train 14,272 workers in total. 8,100 completed the classes in English and 6,172 completed the classes in Spanish. Spanish classes included several hours of teaching students how to say basic construction-related terms in English. In the English language classes, workers were taught basic construction tool names and terminology in Spanish. All students got printed flash cards with translations of key construction terms to take to the job site.
The DFW International Airport Capital Development Program was honored by OSHA for its exemplary safety program. The OSHA Regional Administrator’s Award recognizes organizations that protect the safety and health of employees by increasing awareness of safety issues.
“The DFW Airport Capital Development Program was selected because it has consistently shown a high level of commitment to safety and health in the Dallas-Fort Worth community, particularly to Spanish-speaking construction workers,” said John B. Miles, Jr., regional administrator of OSHA, Region VI.
You can get convenient online safety training for construction and general industry thanks to OSHAcampus.com. Our OSHA 10-Hour, OSHA 30-Hour and HAZWOPER training courses are affordable, feature flexible scheduling, are led by industry-leading instructors and can keep your work site safe and compliant. They come with English and Spanish versions, making it easier than ever to make sure all employees get trained and stay safe.