NIOSH releases occupational safety and health products for Spanish-speaking immigrants

Orientation to occupational safety and health and common hazards covered

Posted September 18, 2015

In anticipation of Hispanic Heritage Month, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released a series of illustrated communication products for organizations that serve Spanish-speaking immigrant workers. The family of products, entitled Protéjase en el trabajo (Protect yourself at work), encourages immigrant workers to seek help if they have a question about their workplace safety or health.

NIOSH partnered with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their network of 50 consulates in the U.S. to create support for the Protéjase project and help workers act on the occupational safety and health information they receive through the materials. The multi-faceted project includes four brochures, five short videos, and two posters encouraging immigrant workers to know and exercise their rights to workplace safety and health.

Because Spanish-speaking immigrant workers may be unfamiliar with U.S. labor, health, legal, or other systems, community-based organizations that have existing relationships with these workers are often a comfortable, trusted and empowering entry point for their questions and concerns. The Protéjase materials raise awareness of who can help and encourage workers with simple messages:

  • Know your rights,
  • Know the hazards on the job,
  • Know what you can do, and
  • Seek help if you have a concern.

The infrastructure of the Mexican consular system in the U.S., as one of these trusted venues, offers workers not only necessary information but also the health, social, community, and legal services they may need to advocate for themselves, improve their workplace safety and health, and overcome the many barriers they may face.

Although the consulates are an established infrastructure serving to connect immigrant workers with their local resources, the Protéjase materials can be distributed by any organization that serves Latino immigrant communities.

NIOSH Protéjase materials, all in Spanish, include print materials that portray issues faced by a family of workers. The materials provide a basic orientation to occupational safety and health, illustrate common types of hazards, and offer suggestions for how to address safety concerns at work. They include specific safety recommendations for hotel and construction workers.

Protéjase video testimonials feature personal stories of how workplace injuries have affected a worker’s life, and advice for others. One of these stories deals with sexual harassment on the job; others deal with on-the-job injuries in residential roofing construction, warehouses, meat-processing plants, and fast-food restaurants.

All of these communication products were developed through a process involving community outreach, engagement, and input grounded in the principles of qualitative research and analysis.

To find out more about the Protéjase materials, additional resources available for Spanish-speaking immigrant workers, and to download the materials free of charge, visit the Protéjase website in English or Spanish.

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