Yesterday, The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and CPWR -- The Center for Construction Research and Training released a collection of construction safety materials known as the Safety Toolbox Talks. This collection of 52 Toolbox Talks has been available in English-only for just over two years and is widely used on construction sites across the country, with more than 100,000 downloads in the first year alone.

From biohazards to workplace stress

The Safety Toolbox Talks are guides designed to easily disseminate safety and health information in the workplace. They incorporate effective elements, identified through NIOSH research, like case studies, discussion questions, and site-specific actions to promote a safety culture. They cover 52  topics relevant to the construction industry including: biohazard safety,  carbon monoxide poisoning, confined spaces, fall protection, eye protection, silica, trench safety, workplace stress among others. The Safety Toolbox Talks provide content for a year of weekly on-site discussions.

Por qué español?

According to BLS, 27.3 percent of workers in construction were of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity in 2014, which illustrates the importance of creating Spanish-language content for this workforce. “As a safety professional for a construction company, I have often found it is very challenging to obtain printed safety material in Spanish,” said Jorge Otalora of Hoar Construction. “My company and our employees will get an invaluable resource from this translated material. These materials will help construction employers reduce the number of injuries among our Latino workforce.”

The fatality rate among Latino workers increased in 2013 to 3.9 per 100,000 workers, up from a rate of 3.7 per 100,000 in 2012. At the same time, the number and rate of fatalities for all other races declined or stayed the same, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). “This joint effort between CPWR and ASSE to make these toolbox talks available in Spanish is an important step in increasing awareness of construction hazards and protective measures, and ultimately reducing the rate of injuries and fatalities among this important segment of the construction workforce,” said Pete Stafford, CPWR’s Executive Director.

Committed to reducing injuries

“Making content that has proven useful among English-speaking construction workers available for Spanish-speaking at-risk workers is imperative to truly improve workplace safety,” said Michael Belcher, ASSE President. “We are committed to reduce injuries and deaths on the job that disproportionally affect Latino workers and this is the first step to tackle this issue. Partnering with CPWR gives us the opportunity to create useful tools and improve the content and the means in which workers are approached.”

The release of the Spanish-version of the Safety Toolbox Talks is part of a collaborative effort between ASSE and CPWR that, in addition to providing resources, aims to evaluate the effectiveness of currently utilized workplace safety tools. In the upcoming months both organizations will be working on a pilot project designed to conduct formative research on the 52 Toolbox Talk series (TBT Series) when used by small employers in construction firms to distribute occupational safety and health materials and information. The purpose of this evaluation is to improve content, delivery methods, and results.

The Spanish and English versions of the Safety Toolbox Talks can be found at:

Founded in 1911, the Park Ridge-based ASSE has more than 37,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members from around the globe who lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information please go to    

CPWR is a nonprofit organization dedicated to construction safety and health research and training, and currently serves as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s  (NIOSH) National Construction Center.  In this capacity, CPWR works to reduce or eliminate occupational safety and health hazards faced by construction workers through safety and health research and the development of a broad array of training programs. For more information please go to