Language Barriers Could Contribute to Job Site Fatalities
Foreign-born workers accounted for 29% of the fatalities in the residential construction industry, according to “Residential Construction Industry Fatalities 2003-2006,” a recently-released study commissioned by NAHB.
The study also found that workers of Hispanic origin accounted for 28% of the fatalities.
Foreign-born and Hispanic workers have significantly higher representation in the construction industry than in the population at large.
2006 Census Bureau figures show that 11% of people living in the U.S. were born in other countries, while Department of Labor figures indicate that 28% of construction workers are non-native. The proportion of Hispanic workers in the construction trades — 28% — is also higher than in the general U.S. population (14.8%).
“Without safety training, residential construction sites can be very dangerous for any worker, regardless of their language skills or assigned task,” said Buck Roberts, president of A.B. Roberts Construction Company in Anderson, S.C. and chairman of NAHB’s Construction Safety and Health Committee.
“Since more than a quarter of the workers in our industry may not speak English as their first language, NAHB is creating many safety training resources in English-Spanish language formats for our members and their workers,” he said.
The safety study evaluated the 1,385 work-related deaths that were reported in residential construction from 2003 to 2006. Data was collected from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries as well as employment estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey and the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.
The study also found that falls, which accounted for 45% of the industry’s reported deaths, were the most common cause of home building fatalities.
Study Available Free From NAHB
The study, available free from NAHB, is the most comprehensive analysis of home building industry fatalities to date.
To download a free copy of the full study or its executive summary from the NAHB Web site, go to: www.nahb.org/fatalitystudy.
Spanish-Language Safety Resources Available From NAHB
NAHB offers its members and affiliated home builders associations Spanish-language resources in a variety of formats, including books, videos, onsite training programs and Sed de Saber™-Construction Edition, a learn-at-home program from the Home Builders Institute (HBI) that teaches English to Spanish-speaking adults in the construction industry. HBI is the workforce development arm of NAHB.
BuilderBooks.com offers several safety-oriented Spanish-language instructional books and videos, including “Fall Protection Video, English-Spanish,” which includes identical 30-minute training videos in each language.
NAHB and the NAHB Research Center also conduct fall protection training seminars in locations around the country for builders, trade contractors, supervisors and workers. The seminars are offered in both English and Spanish.
To learn more about the fall protection training program, and to see a list of scheduled seminar locations for 2008, go to www.nahb.org/fallprotectiontraining.
To purchase safety publications, videos and other resources online from BuilderBooks.com, visit www.builderbooks.com/safety.
For more information on NAHB safety training programs, e-mail Lindsay Cather at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8163.
Boost Job Site Safety With Fall Protection Training Products
In an effort to increase job site safety and reduce the chance of job related accidents, NAHB has produced the “Fall Protection Video, English-Spanish” and “NAHB-OSHA Fall Protection Handbook, English-Spanish.”
Both are available through BuilderBooks.com.
The 30-minute “Fall Protection Video, English-Spanish” can be used by builders to train workers to use safe work practices that eliminate fall hazards and comply with OSHA fall-protection standards.
The “NAHB-OSHA Fall Protection Handbook, English-Spanish” provides guidelines for creating a written fall-protection plan and identifying safe work practices that can prevent costly accidents and injuries. Written with clear text, photographs and illustrations, the book serves as a user-friendly resource for promoting safety on any job site.
To purchase the handbook and video online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.
Create a Safer Job Site
Four common hazards cause 90% of the injuries and fatalities on residential construction job sites.
The “Recognizing the Big-Four Safety Hazards for the Home Building Industry” course from The NAHB University of Housing shows how to comply with OSHA regulations and to recognize and minimize those hazards most likely to cause accidents.
The course teaches builders to protect their workers from harm and themselves from liability. This course is also available in Spanish.
To find out where upcoming courses are being held, click here, or call 800-368-5242 x8154 for more information.
Home Builders Institute Offers New Program to Teach Hispanic Adults English
Sed de Saber™-Construction Edition is an easy-to-use, take-home learning tool created exclusively for the construction industry by the Home Builders Institute to improve communication, quality and safety on the job site.
The product, now available at www.seddesaberconstruction.com, uses proven LeapFrog technology to allow workers to listen, record and play back their pronunciation of more than 500 vocabulary words and 340 phrases. Participants who practice 30 minutes each day will complete the program in just four months. Learning at home, on their own time, also eliminates scheduling conflicts.
Sed de Saber™-Construction Edition was developed by a team of subject matter experts assembled through HBI — including superintendents, craft skills experts, remodelers and builders — to ensure that the information is relevant to today’s home building workforce. To address worker safety issues related to the language barrier, HBI created a seventh book based entirely on the NAHB-OSHA Job Site Safety Handbook.
NAHB members can purchase the learning system, all seven books and a skills assessment to chart employee progress for $395 per kit. The non-member price is $495. Order today and empower your workers to learn English at www.seddesaberconstruction.com.