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Construction Safety Case Study: Protecting Latino Workers on the Job

F Marie Athey OHST

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F Marie Athey OHST | July 12, 2013 | 2

Construction Safety Case Study: Protecting Latino Workers on the Job

Although many construction companies are working to make their safety training accessible to both English and Spanish speaking employees, the gap in Spanish-based training availability is ever present. The lack of training for these employees has allowed Spanish-speaking employee fatalities to continue to rise. In fact, every week, more than 14 Hispanic or Latino workers are killed on the job.

If your workplace offers safety training to workers (or if you’re looking to start a program), it’s crucial that you include 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.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Airport is a great example of a large institution that implemented a dual-language training program.

DFW’s Capital Development Program

A few years ago, the DFW Airport proved that a massive dual-language construction project can be a safe environment for both employees and contractors. The airport, which is the second-largest airport in the United States, moves almost 60 million passengers annually.

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 and hotel development. The airport 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.

How Did DFW Manage This Training Program?

The program used a mix of classroom and hands-on lab work to train 14,272 workers in total; 8,100 personnel completed the classes in English, and 6,172 completed the classes in Spanish.

The Spanish classes included several hours of teaching students how to say basic construction-related terms in English, while in the English language classes, workers were taught basic construction tool names and terminology in Spanish. All students were given printed flashcards with translations of key construction terms to take to the job site and help them solidify their knowledge.

The Effects of the Safety Training Program

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.

Because the DFW International Airport Capital Development Program was such a success, it was honored by OSHA with the Regional Administrator’s Award. This award recognizes organizations that protect the safety and health of employees by increasing awareness of safety issues.

John B. Miles Jr., the Regional Administrator of OSHA, Region VI stated, “The DFW Airport Capital Development Program was selected because it consistently showed a high-level of commitment to safety and health in the DFW area, particularly to Spanish-speaking construction workers.”

OSHA Training in English and Spanish

Even if you’re not part of the DFW Capital Development Program, you still 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 worksite 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. Start your course today!

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