Tues., Sept. 1 ,2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
U.S. Labor Department's OSHA renews safety and health alliance with El Centro de Hospitalidad for Spanish-speaking Staten Island, N.Y., workers
NEW YORK -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today renewed a successful alliance with El Centro de Hospitalidad, a Staten Island, N.Y., faith-based, community organization, to provide safety and health training and information in Spanish to the island's low-wage workers, including construction laborers, landscapers, and factory and domestic workers.
"In the workplace, lack of knowledge can be dangerous, even deadly," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "This alliance provides Spanish-speaking workers with vital information about protecting themselves against workplace hazards and their right to a safe and healthful work environment."
In conjunction with today's signing, OSHA and the Construction Safety Council also introduced El Centro officials to Focus 4 Hazards, a bilingual training kit designed for community and faith-based organizations that they can use to educate their constituencies about construction hazards and safeguards.
"We formed this alliance so that Spanish-speaking workers and the community have the tools to prevent on-the-job injuries and fatalities," said Patricia Jones, area director for OSHA's Avenel, N.J., area office, which covers Staten Island. "Focus 4 Hazards will provide them with the knowledge they need in a language and way they understand."
The alliance has its roots in the aftermath of the December 2003 death of a Spanish-speaking worker in a Staten Island trench collapse. OSHA encountered El Centro while conducting community outreach activities. The two agencies recognized their mutual concern for worker safety and health and formalized the alliance in 2005.
Since then, OSHA and El Centro have conducted ongoing training sessions, including an official OSHA 10-hour construction safety course in Spanish, and participated in numerous conferences, meetings, and safety and health fairs. OSHA also has provided or helped provide El Centro with Spanish language training videos and literature for workers. Those activities continue.
"We cannot restore this worker to his family or erase the enormity of his loss, but we can work together to prevent future deaths," said Jones. "No El Centro member has died on the job since this alliance was forged. We do not take that fact for granted."
The signing took place during the first U.S.-Mexico National Labor Rights Week, Aug. 31 to Sept. 4, 2009. Jones signed for OSHA while Terry Troia, board of directors, and David Suarez, worker organizer, signed for El Centro.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov or http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/spanish/index.html.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.