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Safety is Seguridad: A Workshop Summary
language differences that can be addressed by translation, recognition of cultural differences may modify the nature of an effective public health intervention, even when addressing the same occupational health hazard in the same industry sector as an English-language counterpart. The National Occupational Research Agenda noted that effective interventions should extend beyond simple translation to address diversity within the Hispanic workforce and differences from the non-Hispanic workforce. Existing data to target, prioritize, and provide metrics for evaluation of the effectiveness of interventions is not currently limiting initial public health interventions, but the data have considerable weaknesses. Workshop participants thought that NIOSH, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) should develop major long-term initiatives to improve public datasets, but that several high-priority Hispanic target populations can be distinguished with relative confidence using current data.
While it is clear from workshop discussions that occupational safety and health resources for Spanish-speaking workers are needed, it is less whether that there are adequate materials that fit these needs. Many different domestic and international sources of Spanish-language materials were identified. Workshop participants identified a variety of problems regarding existing materials. There was general agreement that there is a need to collect, evaluate, and disseminate Spanish-language resources on an ongoing basis. Workshop participants agreed that the quality of existing material is varied and some of it is often poor. To address the issue of quality of material, workshop participants urged that evaluation standards for materials be implemented, including an evaluation of existing materials. They suggested that a national clearinghouse (ideally, web based) of materials judged to be of good quality be established with some information on best situations for use practices.
The participants did not think that it was adequate to simply collect, evaluate, and disseminate existing materials. Development of new materials to fill current gaps would also be of great value. The language must be appropriate to the educational level of the target audience. The material should pinpoint behaviors that are key to safety, and focus on these. It is essential to develop both content and delivery modes for messages with consumer input.
With respect to delivery mode and approaches, the workshop participants agreed that multiple modes of delivery should be considered, not just print media. Workshop participants agreed that communication materials and strategies must be in Spanish, but that language alone is not enough for adequate communication. It is essential that messages be delivered in culturally appropriate ways both in terms of content and approaches. Discussion during the workshop focused on providing resources for those who are best able to access high-risk Spanish-speaking workers and to support their efforts.
There was also considerable discussion and varied opinions about the best approach to translating material into Spanish. There was agreement that direct translation of materials, warning labels, signs, etc. usually does not convey the correct meaning, and that adaptation is essential at the very least.
The workshop participants discussed how to prioritize which information gaps to fill and believed that the priority should not be on translation of technical health and safety documents. Rather, emphasis would be better placed on developing materials as part of a strategic initiative to reach Spanish-speaking workers, their employers, and their communities with practical information that can assist in preventing workplace injury and illness. Well-developed educational materials by themselves do not always assure that the intended audience will be reached. It is important that materials be used in the context of a well-planned educational intervention. Workshop participants thought that it would be important to have a solid evaluation process.
The workshop participants appreciated the opportunity provided by NIOSH for them to come together to discuss these issues. The diversity of the participants was noted. Participants included representatives from government agencies, community organizations, academic research centers, employers, outreach workers, and union members. Discussions were open, honest, and