Fatalities of Hispanic Workers: Safety Initiatives Taken by U.S. Construction Companies to Address Linguistic and Cultural Issues Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The U.S. Census Bureau's projection states that Hispanics form the largest minority group in the U.S. construction industry. A major challenge faced by American construction companies is the continually increasing number of fatalities among its Hispanic workers. According to the literature, illiteracy, the language barrier, and cultural differences are major causes of Hispanic worker fatalities. This study focuses on two out of these three aspects, i.e., language barriers and cultural differences. The study was undertaken to explore the reasons behind the lack of safety awareness of Hispanic workers, and to investigate the measures that construction companies take to deal with this problem. The literature review identified the main issues that need to be addressed by construction companies to ensure the safety of Hispanic workers. A survey was created, asking supervisors/directors of the top U.S. construction companies about their safety initiatives. As a result, it was found that construction companies address the problems of language and cultural barriers by implementing initiatives such as hands-on training, English as a Second Language courses, bilingual trainers, vocabulary cards, social gatherings, and common workshops. This study may help the construction industry identify areas requiring attention in order to improve the safety of its Hispanic employees. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

author list (cited authors)

  • Lavy, S., Aggarwal, C., & Porwal, V.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • November 2010