Hispanic injury rate…. Many job sites, safety instructions and warnings appear only in English” (Greenhouse, 2001).
It is important to emphasize, however, that information and training cannot be the only preventive action taken. Putting all the burden on the worker to “work safely” reflects a limited understanding of how to make the workplace safe and also is unfair to the worker. Engineering controls is the most desirable and effective safety method (e.g., putting guards on cutting machines, having a lockout system in place when doing electrical maintenance). Needed personal protective equipment must also be an integral part of the safety program (e.g., providing harnesses and safety belts when doing elevated work). Providing eating and drinking areas that are not contaminated with lead or other workplace toxics is another necessity. Once these control measures are in place, information and training for the worker will cover why the guards are there and must stay in place, steps to follow when locking out a machine, why and how to wear safety harnesses, and why and how to practice good hygiene so that one’s food or drink is not contaminated with workplace toxics.
To write this paper I conducted a review of over 500 educational health and safety materials developed by over 75 organizations for workers up to 1999. I have also examined approximately 50 such materials developed since 1999. All were primarily written materials (booklets, pamphlets, fact sheets) and posters that were produced by governmental agencies at the federal, state, and local levels; university programs; unions; worker advocacy groups; occupational health and safety professional associations; voluntary health agencies; for-profit companies that produce health and safety materials; and industry. In addition, at least a fourth of the materials reviewed were from Spain and Latin American countries. Between 1997 and 1999, the program that I direct, the UCLA-Labor Occupational Safety and Health (LOSH) program updated a bibliography of such materials that we originally produced in 1990, La Fuente Obrera: Materiales en Español de Salud y Seguridad Para Trabajadores y Profesionales de Salud; this Spanish/English bibliography is available on our website at <http://www.losh.ucla.edu> (Alas, 1999). Since that time, we also have acquired new material. We have at least one copy of each of the materials reviewed in our Spanish Resource Library. People can request from us photocopies of materials that do not have copyright restrictions.
In this updated review as of Spring 2002 it has again become clear that although there have been numerous materials developed for Spanish-speaking workers, there are still many gaps. There are needs for both new materials and revisions of those that exist. Here is a snapshot of what we found.
Federal OSHA, under the directorship of Dr. Eula Bingham from 1976 to 1980, produced a series of Spanish-language booklets, a manual/workbook, and a poster, which are now out of print. These were compact, in lively colors with graphics, and covered topics such as “Health and Safety Committees: A Good Way to Protect Workers”; “Safety and Health at Work: Answers to Some Common Questions”; “Safety and Health at Work: OSHA Inspections from Start to Finish”; a manual/workbook for workers on “Health Inspections from OSHA: How You are Able to Help”; and a poster entitled “They Cannot Punish You for Insisting on Safety and Health on the Job. It is the Law”. Currently OSHA has four booklets on “Risks of Chemicals,” “Regulations,” “Bloodborne Pathogens,” and “Worker Rights” that were developed in the period