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Safety is Seguridad: A Workshop Summary
worksite training sessions. Again, it is essential to develop these with worker input. In several areas, workshop participants had differing views of how to proceed. There was much discussion on the issue of whether to use a clearinghouse or local groups for development of materials. Some participants thought that a national clearinghouse, which developed and recommended materials, is most effective. Others thought that local development by those close to the culture and the worksite would result in more appropriate and innovative approaches. A combination of local and national approaches might make the most sense.
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, including warning labels and signs, usually does not convey the correct meaning, and that adaptation is essential at the very least. Adaptation involves working with the materials to convey the correct meaning in culturally, educationally, and linguistically acceptable language. Some workshop participants thought that adapting would carry too much English or U.S. cultural and linguistic “baggage,” and that it was essential to create materials in Spanish, with user participation.
Workshop participants debated the extent to which various government agencies involved in worker safety had worked together effectively in the past. There was agreement that working together is important, and that the dialogue during the workshop between representatives of various agencies and with other workshop participants was useful in furthering such collaborations. It was noted that partnerships of industry, OSHA, NIOSH, and worker groups provide models for successful training programs.
Audiences for improved worker safety communication materials and for the methods for developing and improving these include:
owners and employers;
trainers, safety personnel;
workers, including day laborers (There is great variety in type of work, risks, level of training, literacy.);
unions, trade associations;
federal agencies (e.g., NIOSH, OSHA, Environmental Protection Agency);
Safety for workers involves behavior changes to ensure safe habits and safe conditions. The workshop participants discussed the need to change employer, supervisor, and worker behaviors. It was noted that workers seldom have the power to change working conditions. This power lies with owners, employers, contractors, supervisors, etc., and communication with these groups regarding their responsibilities for worker safety is essential. Intermediaries (e.g., plant supervisors, contractors) can play an important role ensuring safety and delivering informational materials. Often, the solution to high-risk situations lies in changing the environment rather than, or more than, changing the worker behavior.
Workshop participants discussed in detail the role of the government at federal, state, and local levels and agreed that key roles include: