Workshop focuses on high fatality rates of Hispanic and Latino workers

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PARK RIDGE, Illinois — Hispanic and Latino workers suffer significantly higher rates of fatalities than other U.S. workers, leading the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) to launch a collaborative effort to seek solutions. A Hispanic/Latino Worker Safety Workshop was held May 4 near Chicago that brought together a diverse cross-section of more than 50 influencers who identified priorities for reducing the occupational safety and health disparity.

The full-day session was the first step in a renewed collective effort involving government, advocacy groups, labor unions, academia, professional associations and the business sector. It builds on past collaborations such as the Overlapping Vulnerabilities report in 2015 by ASSE and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

ASSE leaders were joined at the workshop by representatives from NIOSH, the National Safety Council, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Latino Worker Safety Center, Oregon OSHA, Associated Builders and Contractors, and many other organizations that included the agriculture, construction and manufacturing industries.

If nothing changes for this vulnerable population, tragedies will continue to destroy families while the costs to workers, employers and society grow,” said ASSE President-Elect Rixio Medina, CSP, ASP, CPP. “By bringing together the right people, we can have a robust exchange of ideas and develop strategies that make a lasting impact on Hispanic and Latino worker safety and health.”

Workshop participants identified four priorities in addressing challenges and pushing the initiative forward:

1)  Create a clearinghouse for data and a centralized location for collaboration, including tools and resources for working with Hispanic and Latino workers.

2)  Develop campaigns that target various audiences on the importance of occupational safety and health.

3)  Promote workplace safety and health in schools so students graduate more prepared to reduce jobsite risks.

4)  Collaborate to bring more Hispanics and Latinos into the safety and health profession.

As the world’s oldest professional safety organization, ASSE is committed to facilitating the collaboration necessary to reach effective solutions that save lives, strengthen families and lower costs.

“Right now, there are obstacles to instituting some safety programs we’d like to see across many industries,” Medina said. “But there are strategies that can break down those barriers if we remain focused on this issue. It’s all about a collaborative approach to sharing insights and leveraging existing resources for the broader good.”

The workshop – identified as a key tactic by ASSE’s Hispanic Outreach Working Group last December – was sponsored by the Brock Group, which provides soft craft services, labor support and materials for capital projects, maintenance and facility turnarounds.

About ASSE – Working together for a safer, stronger future

For more than 100 years, the American Society of Safety Engineers has been at the forefront of helping occupational safety and health professionals protect people and property. The nonprofit society is based in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge. Its global membership of over 37,000 professionals covers every industry, developing safety and health management plans that prevent deaths, injuries and illnesses. ASSE advances its members and the safety profession through education, advocacy, standards development and a professional community. Its flagship publication, Professional Safety, is a longtime leader in the field. Visit www.asse.org and follow us on  and .

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