By REMODELING Magazine Staff. For Hispanic workers, a steadily growing presence in the construction industry has lead not only to greater opportunity but greater risk as well. By the end of the 1990s, Hispanics accounted for more than 15% of the construction work force, up from 9% at the start of the decade. Over that same period, work related fatalities among Hispanic construction workers increased by 53%. In 2000, the fatality rate for Hispanics (the most recent available) was 39% higher than that of non-Hispanic workers.

A series of reports presented by the National Academies of Sciences called Safety is Seguridad makes several recommendations for effectively communicating safety information to Hispanic workers.

  • Most essentially, any instructions or materials should be in Spanish. â??Spanglishâ?? words are also widely understood and may be best for some construction-specific terms.
  • Use a multiformat approach, including both talks and printed materials.
  • Graphics-heavy printed materials are more effective than those with lots of text.
  • Use a Spanish speaking safety trainer. If you have to use a translator, avoid one who isn't familiar with the material and could potentially misinterpret or omit key details.
  • During safety training, maintain a comfortable atmosphere and generate discussion.