April 2016

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Workers’ Memorial Day

Workers’ Memorial Day is observed internationally on April 28th. This day serves as a remembrance for workers who have lost their lives or been injured on the job.

Every day, 13 workers are killed on the job in the United States. According to preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics data, fatal work injuries in construction increased from 828 in 2013 to 874 in 2014. Most of these accidents involved foreign-born workers. These workers came from over 80 different countries, of which the greatest share (40 percent), were born in Mexico.

These statistics underscore the importance of providing safety and health training in the appropriate language and upon hiring – many temporary workers are killed or injured in their first week at work.

Accidents at work are costly in many ways. Workers’ lives can be lost or severely compromised by serious injury. Families are affected by loss of wages. And companies are affected by increases in their Workers Compensation and other related insurance costs, as well as the high cost of litigation and/or penalties.

To commemorate Workers’ Memorial Day, employers in construction and manufacturing industries might assess if they are adequately protecting their employees by providing essential training in a language they understand. Putting non-English speakers in an English class is like putting English speakers in a Spanish, Russian, or Polish class and expecting them to learn enough essential information to stay safe and avoid an accident or injury.

Language Directions can provide direct OSHA 10-Hour certification and other safety training in Spanish, or interpretation support for speakers of languages other than English.