Today's News

Hispanic safety summit draws protests

Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao told participants at the first-ever Hispanic Safety and Health Summit that the Bush administration is committed to further driving down workplace fatalities among Hispanics, which in 2002 dropped for the first time in seven years.

The summit was held in Orlando in late July.

Meanwhile, the Coalition for Hispanic Worker Safety, made up of 25 worker advocacy groups, stayed away from the meeting, protesting that it was "a blatant election year play for Hispanic votes."

“This is clearly not a serious effort to address the epidemic of workplace injuries and illnesses suffered by our community,” said Jayesh Rathod, Staff Attorney of CASA of Maryland. "Planners chose not to invite groups like ours because they knew we would raise serious concerns about the administration’s dismantling of workplace safety rules,” Rathod added.

“This summit demonstrates the commitment of this administration and the Department of Labor to protecting the health and safety of our nation’s diverse Hispanic workforce,” Secretary Chao said.

“We have come to Orlando to get feedback, to hear new ideas, to explore best practices for reaching Hispanic workers,” said OSHA chief John Henshaw. “We want to share what we're doing, but more importantly, we want to listen to others who can suggest additional strategies.”

Protesters want the agency to do more than listen. “OSHA has failed to take even the small step of clarifying that employers must pay for required personal protective equipment,” noted Jackie Nowell, director of Occupational Safety and Health for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. “For the low-wage workers that we represent, many of whom are immigrants, the extra money taken out of their paychecks for necessary safety equipment is very significant,” she added.

Immigrant advocates also pointed out that the summit lacked the participation of key leaders in the field of Hispanic health and safety. “NIOSH — the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health — was initially involved in the planning, but it seems that OSHA did not want their participation,” noted Tom O’Connor of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health. “NIOSH has a wealth of expertise on Hispanic worker safety and should have been a key participant,” O’Connor said.

Hispanic workers are more likely than the general population to be killed, injured or become ill on the job. Fifteen percent of the workers who died in 2002 were Hispanic, even though Hispanics comprise less than 13 percent of the workforce. About 17.5 million Hispanic employees are in the U.S. workforce.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

4/21/15 2:00 pm EDT

The Safety Selfie: It’s time to take a “snap shot” of your safety program and contemplate what others see

We all know perception is reality and that people perceive things differently. As a safety manager, your perception of your safety program almost certainly differs from that of your workers and your managers. We will use our “Safety Selfies” to expose weaknesses, real and perceived, and to talk about how best to make improvements.

ISHN Magazine


2015 April

Check out ISHN's April issue, which features content about lockout-tagout, heat stress, hearing protection and more!

Table Of Contents Subscribe


M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - January 2015



For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. 



Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.