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09-1039-NEW/BOS 2009-270
Tues., Sept. 1 ,2009
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

U.S. Labor Department's OSHA renews safety and health alliance with El Centro de Hospitalidad for Spanish-speaking Staten Island, N.Y., workers

NEW YORK -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today renewed a successful alliance with El Centro de Hospitalidad, a Staten Island, N.Y., faith-based, community organization, to provide safety and health training and information in Spanish to the island's low-wage workers, including construction laborers, landscapers, and factory and domestic workers.

"In the workplace, lack of knowledge can be dangerous, even deadly," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. "This alliance provides Spanish-speaking workers with vital information about protecting themselves against workplace hazards and their right to a safe and healthful work environment."

In conjunction with today's signing, OSHA and the Construction Safety Council also introduced El Centro officials to Focus 4 Hazards, a bilingual training kit designed for community and faith-based organizations that they can use to educate their constituencies about construction hazards and safeguards.

"We formed this alliance so that Spanish-speaking workers and the community have the tools to prevent on-the-job injuries and fatalities," said Patricia Jones, area director for OSHA's Avenel, N.J., area office, which covers Staten Island. "Focus 4 Hazards will provide them with the knowledge they need in a language and way they understand."

The alliance has its roots in the aftermath of the December 2003 death of a Spanish-speaking worker in a Staten Island trench collapse. OSHA encountered El Centro while conducting community outreach activities. The two agencies recognized their mutual concern for worker safety and health and formalized the alliance in 2005.

Since then, OSHA and El Centro have conducted ongoing training sess