Solis Convenes Summit on Health and Safety of Latino Workers

Of the thousands of workers in the U.S. who are injured or killed on the job each year as a result of preventable incidents, Latino employees suffer work-related injuries and fatalities at higher rates than all other workers. It is with these statistics in mind that U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis convened a historic National Action Summit for Latino Worker Health and Safety beginning April 15.

The 2-day event, which is being held in Houston, is co-sponsored by OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in partnership with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. It was designed to bring together workers and representatives from employer associations, labor unions, the faith community, community organizations, the medical community, safety and health professionals, educators, government officials, consulates, the entertainment community and other, non-traditional partners.

“Our focus at this summit is ensuring that all workers understand they have a right to a safe workplace, that they know what hazards they might face on the job, and that they have a clear sense of how a safe workplace is supposed to look,” said Solis during her keynote address at the summit.

“Workers have a right to talk to their employers about unsafe conditions and, if necessary, to call OSHA. They have a right to get safety equipment that is required by law and paid for by the employer,” she said. “They have a right to be trained in a language and in a way they understand. Workers need to know how to use these rights without fear of retaliation. And finally, every worker needs to know that he or she has the right to come home alive at the end of the day.”

Workshops will focus on partnerships and education for Latino workers; the role of clinics and public health departments, on-the-job programs; workers’ rights under OSHA and DOL; funding worker safety and health education for Latino workers; and more.

“Far too many Latino workers have needlessly lost their lives just trying to earn a living, and it must stop,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. “This summit will shine a spotlight on the hazards and challenges faced by this vulnerable sector of the nation’s workforce so we can begin crafting new, badly needed strategies to prevent thousands of injuries and deaths every year.”

The summit includes panelists and participants from a variety of groups including Casa Latina, Tenants and Workers United, The Hispanic Westchester Coalition, Union Latina de Chicago, VOZ, Wind of the Spirit, Workers Defense Project, Centro Humanitario Para Los Trabajadores and Central American Resource Center, among many others.

For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov/latinosummit/index.html.

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