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Billboards push workplace safety

November 7, 2005
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In El Paso, Texas, efforts to reduce worker injuries and deaths have moved from work sites and training rooms to public streets.

Four groups have joined together to mount a billboard campaign promoting workplace safety, according to the El Paso Times. The billboards, many of which are in Spanish, show a young girl gazing out a window next to this text: "Ellos esperan que llegues a casa sano y salvo ... y nosotros tambien." The English version reads: "They expect you to come home safely. So do we."

At the bottom of the billboard are the logos of the sponsoring organizations: El Paso Associated General Contractors, JDW Insurance, T&T Staff Management LP and the American Association of Safety Engineers.

The billboards, which are scheduled to run for the next two months, are an effort to create more awareness of workplace safety. "We're hoping this multiplies in discussions over the dinner table; it's something with meaning for everyone," said Joe Gomez, executive vice president of El Paso Associated General Contractors.

Texas had 791 worker deaths in 2003, the most recent year for which data is available, and 519 of those deaths were among foreign-born Hispanics, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2003, OSHA began signing agreements with El Paso industry groups and companies to provide safety training. T&T Staff signed on last year and began offering orientation and 10-hour training classes to its clients' supervisors and workers.

"The accidents we see now are more minor in nature and catastrophic claims have been reduced easily by 30 percent," said Thad Steele, president of T&T.

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