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    Worker Safety

"Being Safe For My Family is More Important than Following the Boss's Orders"
Day Laborers Learn Life-Saving Safety Skills

The fatality rate for Latino construction workers is 44 percent higher than it is for all construction workers. WIN's "More Than Training" safety program is giving workers life-saving skills in their native language.

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Many factors lead to the high death rate among Latino construction workers. Latino workers tend to be concentrated in the most dangerous jobs. They are less likely to receive safety training than other workers, and they are more likely to have language barriers.

Workers who are members of WIN's Workers' Center are able to uphold their rights to safe working conditions. They have the opportunity to participate in an innovative two-day safety training in Spanish, geared particularly to the needs of Latino day laborers.

The program uses standards for training set by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. But it is also unique in drawing on workers' experiences to help them learn from each other. Two of WIN's worker leaders help a safety expert lead the trainings.

Worker trainer Juan Diaz says that one of the most important parts of the training is the worker-to-worker learning that takes place. He points out that in residential construction (where most day laborers work), workers are often not given proper equipment, or told how to use fall harnesses, ladders, or masks properly.

Many times, he says, "the boss wants the job done quickly instead of safely." After the training, Diaz says "workers are realizing that being safe for my family is more important than following the boss's orders" if they are told to do something unsafe.

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