Many Hispanic and Latino workers are insufficiently trained in the hazards of their jobs and in safe work practices. This can happen even in workplaces where training schedules and outlines are rigorously adhered to, if employers fail to recognize the severity of the barrier posed by limited English proficiency. Even a worker who speaks English well enough to communicate with coworkers on a day-to-day basis may not be fluent enough to adequately comprehend training and informational materials that are provided in English.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) convened a National Action Summit for Latino Worker Health and Safety in April 2010. The Agency has reached out to Hispanic and Latino workers since that time, attempting to reduce their high rates of work-related injuries and fatalities, but there is little to show for its efforts. The preliminary results of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary for 2013, released in September, show that fatal work injuries among Hispanic and Latino workers increased by 7% over 2012 figures—the only ethnic groups to show such an increase.
What did your last fire drill look and sound like? Was it a calm and quickly executed affair: The fire alarm sounded and everybody calmly walked out through their nearest exit and went to the assembly point? Congratulations: Your workers know how to get out of the building when there’s not actually a fire. During a real fire situation, though, they might not do so well. Here’s some advice you can use to help workers prepare for a real fire.
In yesterday’s article, we looked at the labeling requirements for solid materials, specifically, when a solid material is an “article” that does not require labeling and when it is a potentially hazardous chemical that must be labeled. Today, we’ll look at other unusual labeling situations that may arise and how to handle them.
When we think of chemical labeling, we tend to think of “ordinary” situations—gallon jars of sulfuric acid sporting OSHA’s new pictograms, or bags of insulation with their hazard labels prominently displayed. But hazardous chemicals don’t always come in what we think of as “ordinary” containers, nor do they stay there—they are, after all, intended for use. How should you address labeling under these unusual circumstances?