DOL/OSHA schedules conference on Latino worker safety and health

[tweetmeme]OSHA will convene a National Action Summit for Latino Worker Health and Safety, April 14-15, 2010 at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston.   The conference is co-sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).  The emphasis on engaging Latino workforce was announced back on Labor Day, by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

According to an OSHA press release, “the conference will bring together workers and representatives from employer associations, labor unions, the faith community, community organizations, the medical community, safety and health professionals, educators, government officials, Consulates, the entertainment community and other non-traditional partners.”

Of course with construction deaths and injuries, among Latinos, significantly higher than in the general population, construction will be primary industry targeted.  The Department of Labor indicates that latino immigrant workers comprise almost one quarter of the construction industry workforce and suffer the highest rate of construction-related deaths. 

It should not be lost on anyone that the conference is scheduled to be held in Texas either.  Texas’ workplace fatality rates were three times higher, than that of the National average in 2009, and got the attention of Secretary Solis last Summer.  Solis sent a ‘posse’ of OSHA compliance officers into Texas to strengthen enforcement and showcase OSHA’s new tough stance on compliance within high risk industries.

According to OSHA the conference will also target other high-risk industries that employ large numbers of Latino workers.  “Far too many Latino workers have needlessly lost their lives just trying to earn a living and it must stop,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. ” 

You can register online at www.osha.gov beginning Wednesday, January 13.

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