New Spanish and English Construction Safety Courses Retool Workers
Everyday, Bill and Arynaldo climb 20 or more feet above rock-hard cement foundations to install windows and risk electric shock and other exposures while installing insulation. Knowing when to notify your employer about whether a job is safe or if you are being provided with the proper life-saving equipment can be a challenging task, one that MassCOSH aims to make easier by offering the OSHA 10-hour construction safety training.
This past December, MassCOSH launched a new series of construction courses in Spanish and English to make sure workers and supervisors are aware of hazards that can cause life-threatening injuries. MassCOSH offers the OSHA-10 construction outreach class and the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) lead-safe work practices course to workers to provide them with critical information they need to identify hazards and speak up about the need for safety measures.
“I am really glad we spent an extended period of time talking about how to prevent falls,” said Teresa, new to the construction trade. “I didn’t know that it was the leading cause of workplace deaths and now I am aware of everything I need to stay safe working from heights and how to bring hazards to the attention of management.”
The MassCOSH OSHA-10 course is split into two, five-hour days where MassCOSH trainers engage workers and supervisors in interactive activities and discussions on key health and safety topics in construction. Topics are wide-ranging but essential and include an introduction to OSHA, falls, electrical hazards, material handling, chemical hazards, trenches and power tools.
To protect workers and residents from lead paint hazards during residential painting and renovation MassCOSH is state-licensed to provide a one-day training in English and Spanish for construction work performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes, child care facilities and schools. Under Massachusetts and federal law, supervisors of these types of jobs must complete the classes by MassCOSH or another licensed organization.
The launch of this important endeavor has been made possible in large part due to the time and dedication of Rick Rabin, a life-long worker safety advocate. The former MassCOSH Board Chair turned full-time volunteer has decades of experience preventing lead exposures and is also a licensed OSHA-10 instructor. He will be joined by MassCOSH safety trainers Jonny Arevalo and Mirna Montano. Rabin, Arevalo and Montano’s bilingual abilities will enable MassCOSH to target Spanish-speaking workers who often go without the training due to a lack of Spanish language OSHA-10 classes and unaffordable fees.
“We could not be happier to have Rick lending us his expertise to expand our capabilities to help workers have safe conditions on the job,” said MassCOSH’s Labor and Environment Coordinator Tolle Graham. “Our ability to offer the training in Spanish and at reasonable prices will allow us to reach workers who otherwise fall through the cracks and would be unable to take this critical class.”