Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Austin Area Office
The Workers Defense Project
October 19, 2017

  1. Alliance Background

    1. Date Signed

      August 30, 2016

    2. Evaluation Period

      This report covers the period between July 15, 2016 and July 15, 2017.

    3. Alliance Overview

      To provide outreach to immigrant workers, provide training on OSHA regulations, policies and procedures to Worker's Defense Project (WDP) employees and volunteers to foster cooperation and to further the dialogue on safety and health.

    4. Implementation Team Members


      R. Casey Perkins, Area Director, Austin Area OSHA Office
      Joann Natarajan, Compliance Assistance Specialist, Austin Area OSHA Office

      The Workers Defense Project

      Jose P. Garza, Executive Director, Workers Defense Project

  2. Implementation Team Meetings

    Alliance meetings (in person or by phone) were held on February 28 2017, April 4, 2017, and June 6, 2017.

  3. Activities, Events and Products

    Alliance Activity

    • Training and Education: OSHA has provided WDP with 400 copies of OSHA publications for distribution in their construction safety orientation classes.
    • Outreach and Communication: OSHA participated in monthly WDP in-take nights to provide Hispanic workers the opportunity to ask questions and file complaints with OSHA. WDP conducts intake nights to allow workers to make complaints about workplace safety issues and nonpayment of wages complaints. As a result of the intake nights, OSHA has received 18 worker complaints that were taken in person at intake nights, and fielded numerous safety and health questions from workers and WDP staff and volunteers. OSHA also responded to 16 referrals of unsafe conditions from WDP staff transmitted by email. OSHA also took three whistleblower complaints.
    • Promoting the National Dialogue on Safety and Health: OSHA and WDP have worked to promote knowledge about worker rights in Central Texas through a wide range of events targeted to reach immigrant Spanish speaking workers. WDP has made twenty referrals on unsafe worksite conditions, most of which resulted in OSHA inspections that have protected workers from fall hazards in construction, amputations, and eye injuries due to PPE. These referrals were a direct result of the closer working relationship between OSHA and WDP.

    Alliance Products

    • Training and Education: OSHA has provided approximately 400 pamphlets for WDP construction safety orientations, and intake nights in the past year. WDP has developed an OSHA 10 hour and safety orientation training that covers fall protection and focus four hazards. OSHA has publicized these events to assist WDP in finding Spanish speaking attendees.
    • Outreach and Communication: WDP communicates with OSHA staff almost weekly to make referrals, make general safety & health inquiries, and to file complaints on behalf of Hispanic workers. OSHA has also received complaints during the intake nights. OSHA has put WDP in contact with outreach events that WDP may wish to participate in, such as HopeFest, an event that does outreach to low income Hispanic families in Central Austin. WDP and OSHA have worked with the Mexican Consulate to do joint network and conduct joint activities to reach out to immigrant workers, particularly on events such as Workers Memorial Day, and Labor Rights Week.
    • Promoting the National Dialogue on Safety and Health: The alliance has opened the door of communication with immigrant Spanish workers in the Austin and nationally, so that they can exercise their right to a safe and healthy workplace.
  4. Results

    The alliance has raised the Agency's profile with hard to reach immigrant Spanish speaking workers in the Austin area through a multi-pronged approach.

    Type of Activity (Conference, Training, Print and Electronic Distribution, etc.) Number of Individuals Reached or Trained
    Spanish OSHA publications provided


    In-take nights-workers contacted


    OSHA 10 hour attendees


    OSHA Complaints/referrals/inquiries generated as a result of the alliance




  5. Upcoming Milestones

    The alliance has impacted Hispanic construction workers by offering free OSHA 10 hour classes, fall protection, and focus four hazard training and through the development of targeted training materials in Spanish offered by WDP. The alliance provides a conduit for Hispanic workers to exercise their OSHA workplace rights. The OSHA CAS has been the main contact for questions from WDP staff and volunteers, which have averaged about one inquiry per week about referrals and fatalities that have occurred locally. The alliance was renewed on August 30, 2016 for another 2 years.

Report Prepared by: Joann Natarajan, Compliance Assistance Specialist, Austin Area OSHA Office

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