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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 Company, which earned its first "Star" (the highest possible rating) in OSHA’s 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 contractor’s employees attended.
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 Torcon’s project sites have been designated as VPP "Stars" by OSHA). In addition to the reduced occurrence of injuries, the Company’s efforts in bi-lingual communication and safety training have resulted in improved employee relations and greater client satisfaction.
Mr. Leon Baukh, Corporate Safety Director, Torcon, Inc. (July 2004).