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Promoting occupational health with a diverse workforce: NIOSH's experience with Latino immigrant workers.

Flynn MA
Safety 2013: Proceedings of the 2013 ASSE Professional Development Conference, June 24-27, 2013, Las Vegas, Nevada. Des Plaines, IL: American Society of Safety Engineers, 2013 Jun; :1-8
Promoting occupational safety and health will increasing require tools - both practical and theoretical - that directly address diversity and inform necessary adaptations to current practices to make them more responsive to a diverse workforce. Organizations and safety professionals will increasingly be called upon to develop and implement safety promotion programs that account for this diversity in both the short and long term planning of the organization. Developing a detailed understanding of the diversity that currently exists in a company's workforce and how they understand and approach workplace safety is an important first step in building an institution's capacity to effectively promote occupational safety and health among their workers. Essential to this process is developing a more precise understanding of the workforce and appreciation for the diversity that exists within groups of workers such as Latino immigrants. Translating these diverse perspectives into tailored practices and interventions will help ensure that different levels of knowledge and cultural perspectives are specifically addressed in trainings. Efforts to create institutional capacity to effectively work with a diverse workforce will require planning on both the short and long term. This capacity will likely be developed through targeted hiring as well as internal training. Finding inclusive ways to build institutional capacity by promoting a common destiny may be more effective than providing additional training for some groups of workers so that they "fit in." This may be especially true if incentives are attached to skill building such a developing proficiency in another language. Structural barriers to safety are some of the hardest to address and will likely require organizations to simultaneously participate in long-term solutions as well as efforts to mitigate their impact in the short-term. Effectively addressing the diversity that currently exists in an organization will not only provide a foundation for integrating those workers into the organization but can also help develop institutional capacity that will allow the organization to more easily integrate diverse groups of workers in the future.
Safety-programs; Racial-factors; Health-protection; Occupational-safety-programs; Safety-personnel; Work-practices; Safety-practices; Adaptation; Workers
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
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Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Construction; Wholesale and Retail Trade
Source Name
Safety 2013: Proceedings of the 2013 ASSE Professional Development Conference, June 24-27, 2013, Las Vegas, Nevada
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division