¡Se Aceran Las Alertas de Seguridad en Español!


Spanish Safety Alerts are Coming

As we prepare to turn our calendars from May to June, many of us look forward to the onset of summer break, planning family vacations, or the anticipation of football season. However, June also marks a significant occasion: National Safety Month. Established by the National Safety Council in 1996, this month is dedicated to providing resources to help people stay safe at work, at home, and on the road.

You might be wondering what the title of this article, “Spanish Safety Alerts are Coming,” has to do with National Safety Month. In a few weeks, FRA will release our 2nd Quarter Safety Alerts (SA), Technical Releases (TR), and Spotlight on Safety (SoS) Series. We are thrilled to announce that FRA Safety Alerts will now be available in Spanish. We plan to start with all 2024 series documents and gradually translate archived versions as time allows. We are also exploring grant opportunities from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to support this initiative, with more information to follow soon.

Why is this important? According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics:

  • The number of people speaking a language other than English at home increased from 23.1 million in 1980 to 67.8 million in 2019.
  • The Hispanic population is the largest minority group in the U.S., with Spanish being the most common non-English language spoken in homes (around 62%).
  • Spanish is 12 times more common than the next most spoken non-English language (Chinese) and over 5 times more common than the next four languages combined.
  • In the third quarter of 2023, the labor force participation rate for Hispanics was higher than the national average, at 67.2% compared to 62.9%.

Given these statistics, it’s clear that bilingual safety alerts are increasingly important for ensuring the safety of our forest products value chain workforce. At FRA, our mission is to prioritize workplace safety across the industry. While the need for bilingual safety alerts and training has been discussed for years, the initiative has gained momentum recently, especially as it has become a recurring topic at FRA Steering Committee Meetings. Several FRA members have also inquired about the feasibility of producing bilingual FRA publications, highlighting the urgency of advancing this project.

We reached out to some members and industry stakeholders for their thoughts on the need for bilingual safety outreach:

“Texas has observed a rise in the number of Hispanic loggers and truck drivers since 2020. This increase highlights the vital contributions of the Hispanic community to the state’s forest industry.”

  • Rob Hughes, Executive Director – Texas Forestry Association

Producing bilingual Safety Alerts in the forestry industry ensures that all workers, regardless of their primary language, can understand crucial safety information, thereby reducing the risk of accidents and promoting a safer working environment for everyone.”

  • Tracie Gibbs, Director of Safety – Rayonier

“Although the increase in the number of Spanish-speaking workers entering the logging field was acknowledged two decades ago, efforts to provide training and safety materials in Spanish have been slow to keep pace. Reducing language barriers as a cause for logging injuries and fatalities should be paramount. The NC Agromedicine Institute applauds the Forest Resources Association for its efforts to increase the number of Safety Alerts available in Spanish. Hopefully, this will be an incentive for other programs and employers to follow suit in providing multimedia logging safety information in not only Spanish but other languages, as applicable.”

  • Dr. Robin Tutor Marcom, Director – North Carolina Agromedicine Institute

Soon, FRA’s 2nd Quarter publications will arrive in your email inbox. Please help promote logging safety by sharing these publications with non-English speaking wood supply chain stakeholders. Throughout June, embrace your role in ensuring a safe working environment for all. FRA will also be sharing more safety-related content during National Safety Month.

Until next time, I wish you all a happy and safe summer!