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Success with Hispanic Outreach


State:

New Jersey
   
Company: Torcon, Inc.
   
Industry: General Building Contractor Non-Residential
(SIC Code 1542/NAICS Code 236220)
   
Employees: 240 Direct/1200 Contract
   
Success Brief:
 
Torcon, Inc.s bi-lingual communication and safety training program has contributed to an estimated 30% decrease in injuries at the Companys job sites, as well as improved employee relations and greater client satisfaction.
 


The Problem:

To stay competitive in the construction industry, it was recognized that the trend was towards employing more Hispanics. However, many of these potential workers lacked proper safety training.

The Solution:

The Company, which earned its first "Star" (the highest possible rating) in OSHAs Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) in 1993, has incorporated a pro-active, bi-lingual approach into its comprehensive safety program. For job sites that employ Hispanics, contractor supervisors are required to be bi-lingual, eliminating the need for interpreters. Site safety orientation is conducted in both English and Spanish, and the written orientation materials are in both languages. Spanish versions of health and safety posters (see examples pictured below) and emergency evacuation procedures are also provided. Even safety training videos are produced in both English and Spanish. Finally, in addition to providing bi-lingual training of its own employees, the Company mandates that all its contractors conduct weekly, bi-lingual safety meetings (called "Tool Box Safety Talks") and provide the Company with proof that the contractors employees attended.

The Impact:
 
Torcon implemented these bi-lingual programs
Torcon implemented these bi-lingual programs

Since Torcon implemented these bi-lingual programs and requirements in 2001, the Company has experienced an estimated 30% decrease in injuries at its job sites because its Spanish-speaking workers are better trained in safety and health. The Company has also become the first construction industry firm to achieve the VPP "Star" rating at multiple job sites. (Fifteen of Torcons project sites have been designated as VPP "Stars" by OSHA). In addition to the reduced occurrence of injuries, the Companys efforts in bi-lingual communication and safety training have resulted in improved employee relations and greater client satisfaction.

Source:

Mr. Leon Baukh, Corporate Safety Director, Torcon, Inc. (July 2004).