Since being signed on May 20, 2011, the OSHA and National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Alliance has worked to protect workers--especially those in the construction, healthcare, service, and green industries--by addressing issues associated with low-wage, limited basic education, and other vulnerable populations and to help workers understand their rights and the responsibilities of their employers. As part of the Alliance, the OSHA Region VI Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Area Office has reached out to two Oklahoma affiliates of NCLR.
On May 15, 2012, Jorge Delucca, Compliance Assistance Specialist (CAS), met with the Executive Director and the Financial Manager of the Oklahoma Rural Opportunities (ORO) Development Corporation. ORO provides guidance and tuition assistance to farm workers to help them qualify for careers in general industry that will allow them to make more money than they would as farm hands. The training for these careers typically requires weeks or months to complete. Examples of the careers include heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; cosmetology; horseshoeing; welding; and many others.
On June 12, 2012, David Bates, Oklahoma City Area Office Director, and Jorge Delucca gave a presentation about OSHA’s mission to 27 staff members of the Latino Community Development Agency (LCDA) of Oklahoma. LCDA is a clearinghouse for the Latino community in the areas of education, economic development, health, mental health, substance abuse prevention, communication, and youth leadership. LCDA’s 50 staffers and hundreds of volunteers, many of whom are university students, present more than 22 programs and numerous events throughout the year to the community.
At both meetings, the Oklahoma City Area Office representatives described what they look for during workplace inspections and accident investigations, what workers need to do when they file complaints, and the differences among formal, non-formal, and whistleblower complaints. They distributed copies of “All About OSHA,’ the ‘Heat Safety Fact Sheet’ (in English and Spanish), and the pocket card “No one should have to be injured or killed for a paycheck.” In addition, they handed out copies of the article by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis entitled, “A Preventable Epidemic: Latino Deaths in the Workplace.”
The National Office Alliance with the National Council of La Raza made it possible for the Area Office to reach out to the workers and explain that they can rely on OSHA and NCLR for support and advice about workplace safety issues. At the June LCDA meeting, the OSHA representatives responded to questions concerning injured employees, filing complaints, and other rights workers have under the OSHA Act. Also, one participant asked about a fatality that may not have been reported to the Oklahoma City Area Office. Staffers at the Oklahoma City Area Office are investigating the possibility.