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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OSHA News Release: [04/14/2010]
Contact Name: Diana Petterson
Phone Number: (202) 360-3184
Release Number: 10-0478-NAT

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis convenes 1st ever national action summit on health and safety of Latino workers

HOUSTON — Each year, thousands of workers in the U.S. are injured or killed on the job as a result of preventable incidents, and Latino workers are killed and suffer work-related injuries at higher rates than all other workers. It is with these tragic statistics in mind that U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today convened an historic National Action Summit for Latino Worker Health and Safety.

The two-day event, which is being held in Houston, is co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in partnership with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. It brings together workers and representatives from employer associations, labor unions, the faith community, community organizations, the medical community, safety and health professionals, educators, government officials, consulates, the entertainment community and other, non-traditional partners.

"Our focus at this summit is ensuring that all workers understand they have a right to a safe workplace, that they know what hazards they might face on the job, and that they have a clear sense of how a safe workplace is supposed to look," said Secretary Solis during her keynote address at the summit. "Workers have a right to talk to their employers about unsafe conditions and, if necessary, to call OSHA. They have a right to get safety equipment that is required by law and paid for by the employer. They have a right to be trained in a language and in a way they understand. Workers need to know how to use these rights without fear of retaliation. And finally, every worker needs to know that he or she has the right to come home alive at the end of the day."

The summit includes panelists and participants from a variety of groups including Casa Latina in Seattle, Wash.; Tenants and Workers United in Alexandria, Va., The Hispanic Westchester Coalition in White Plains, N.Y., Union Latina de Chicago in Chicago, Ill.; VOZ in Portland, Ore.; Wind of the Spirit in Morristown, N.J.; Workers Defense Project in Austin, Texas; Centro Humanitario Para Los Trabajadores in Denver, Colo.; and Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles, Calif., among many others.

Workshops include: Innovative Partnerships and Effective Education for Latino Workers, The Role of Clinics and Public Health Departments, On-the-Job Programs that Work, Workers' Rights under OSHA and DOL, Assistance for Small Businesses, Funding Worker Safety and Health Education for Latino Workers, and more. A complete agenda in English and Spanish is available at http://www.osha.gov/latinosummit/.

"Far too many Latino workers have needlessly lost their lives just trying to earn a living, and it must stop," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "This summit will shine a spotlight on the hazards and challenges faced by this vulnerable sector of the nation's workforce so we can begin crafting new, badly needed strategies to prevent thousands of injuries and deaths every year."

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.