In its continuing effort to enhance the accessibility of Latino workers to important health and safety information, the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America recently translated four more of its publications into Spanish.

“Spanish-speaking workers are an increasing part of the construction workforce, and many are joining the Laborers,” says LIUNA General President Terence M. O’Sullivan. “While we encourage new immigrants to learn English as quickly as possible, knowing the hazards on construction sites is more important.  To help sustain the health of Latino Laborers and their families and to advance on-the-job safety and health, it is vital that our Fund provide our key materials in their native language.”

One publication – the Skin Cancer health alert (EL CÁNCER DE LA PIEL) – was prepared especially to aid the Fund’s 2006 Sun Sense Skin Cancer Prevention Campaign, the annual drive to encourage Laborers to protect themselves against the dangers of solar radiation. The sun causes 90 percent of all skin cancers. For Latinos, skin cancer may be a more serious problem than is commonly assumed. A recent California study shows that the rate of melanoma among Latino men is rising at twice the rate of whites. Other studies show that Latinos have a poorer awareness of their skin cancer risk factors, even though they are just as prone to sunburn as caucasions.

Another health alert, High Blood Pressure (HIPERTENSIÓN), deals with a prevalent and dangerous health condition that is common among U.S. workers (25 percent) and Canadian workers (15 percent) of all ethnic backgrounds.

Also translated into Spanish was the Fund’s eight-page brochure, Health Risks of Latino Americans (Riesgos para la salud de los estadounidenses Latinos). This publication reviews the four most significant health risks facing Latinos – diabetes, liver disease, cancer and tobacco – and provides resources for further information.

Lastly, the Fund published its new hearing conservation poster in Spanish. The poster features a Laborer with his ear to a walkie-talkie, saying, “Huh?!” It goes on to say, “’Huh’ should not be the most common word in construction. Quiet the site.” (or, in Spanish, “’Huh’ no debe ser la palabra más común en un solar de construcción. Silencie el lugar.”). Hearing loss is a serious and widespread problem among construction workers.

Now, all the Fund’s 65+ health alerts are available in Spanish and English, as are several other publications in key topic areas. More publications will be translated in coming months. A complete list of all LHSFNA publications is available through the online Publications Catalogue.