AGC recently hosted a webinar on The Hispanic Workforce: Best Practices for Construction Employers. According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, 30 percent of all construction workers are Hispanic. Therefore, understanding and exploring the impact culture plays when working with a Hispanic workforce is vital to the success of construction companies nationwide. The webinar serves this need and can help contractors provide a safer and more welcoming environment for Hispanic employees. An on-demand version is available for purchase from the AGC Bookstore.
Webinar speakers included Tricia Kagerer, a risk management executive with American Contractors Insurance Group, and Grace Herrera, safety and training manager for ConAgra foods. Both are former risk, safety and training managers for CF Jordan construction, an AGC-member company located in the border city of El Paso, TX. They described their experiences performing workplace safety investigations and interviews with employees in the construction industry, which led them to realize how much of an impact culture has on the way employees behave at work. They also shared many strategies that they put into practice to help improve safety and communication. For example, they found a higher success rate when training Hispanic workers as a team or in small groups, rather than providing individual training.
Kagerer and Herrera also addressed the new Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) enforcement directive using enforcement, outreach and training to protect temporary workers from workplace hazards. The directive is due to a series of reports of temporary workers suffering fatal injuries during the first days on the job. As a result, OSHA’s Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHO) are directed to “assess, using records and interviews, whether those workers have in fact received required training in a language and vocabulary they understand.” When providing such training in English to workers who do not speak English as their first language, Herrera advised, trainers should speak clearly and be patient, as many workers are often translating, simultaneously, in their minds. She also explained the importance of selecting a translator who understands the dialect of the workers being trained when using an English-to-Spanish translator. Because many workers use slang, she noted, if the translation is too “proper” or formal, the workers may not understand or the translation itself may become inaccurate.
The information shared in this webinar is essential for the success of any construction company with non-Hispanic trainers and supervisors of Hispanic workers, including but not limited to crew leaders, project managers, superintendents, trainers, HR managers, and senior staff. For the complete on-demand recording of the webinar, including slides and handouts, visit the AGC Bookstore. For more information on safety communications, visit AGC’s Labor and HR Topical Resources web page. Select the main category “Other HR Issues” and the subcategory “Safety Communications.”