Spanish Resources Development

Assessment of OSH Materials Targeting Spanish-Speaking Immigrant Workers

The LOSH Spanish Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Resource Library compiles Spanish language educational materials for workers, as well as their employers, OSH trainers and health professionals. These materials were published as an annotated bibliography in 1990 and 1999 under the title "La Fuente Obrera – A Workers' Sourcebook." Each entry has a brief description of the content, format, length, literacy level and other pertinent information. While new materials continue to be added to the Library on a sporadic basis, no systematic efforts have been made to update the collection since its second edition in 1999.

Most recently, LOSH has partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to update the Library and create two introductory Spanish-language OSH materials for use in Mexican consulates. The updating process involves the collection, evaluation and cataloguing of current Spanish-language OSH materials from organizations throughout the United States (US). In order to evaluate the collected materials, a comprehensive guide or an assessment tool is needed. However, no known tool exist that incorporates the most essential evaluation criterion, "cultural relevancy".

Despite research indicating that Spanish-language educational materials are most effective when culturally adapted, there are significant gaps in the literature on how to address this matter when developing materials. In order to fill this void, LOSH conducted literature reviews, interviewed and received feedback from workers, their advocates and social marketing professionals. Based on the research, LOSH identified five key criteria: content, design, visuals, readability and social and cultural considerations that will be used to evaluate the appropriateness of OSH materials for low-literacy Spanish-speaking immigrant workers. LOSH was able to infer that social and cultural considerations need to frame the process of material development and define all other criteria.

LOSH incorporated social and cultural considerations into an assessment tool, which requires the need to incorporate concrete messages that emphasize worker empowerment and addresses worker's fears, sense of vulnerability and competing priorities. Questions still remain about how to effectively address diversity around Spanish-language proficiency and specific socio-cultural issues. During the course of this project, LOSH received overwhelming responses from interested professionals wanting information on the research and the evaluation criteria for Spanish-language materials.

The work carried out by LOSH will not only contribute to the subsequent phases of the NIOSH study, ‚ÄúDissemination of OSH Materials through Mexican Consulates‚ÄĚ, but also to the work they have been involved with for the past 30 years. Since its inception, LOSH has been developing materials and creating educational interventions to reduce the disproportionate number of Spanish-speaking immigrant workers injured and killed on the job every year in US. Many challenges arise when educating this high risk population including: bridging language and cultural gaps, connecting to worker's current socio-cultural reality and understanding their needs, strengths and experiences in the US workplace. This project responds to the need of addressing these challenges and the subsequent preventable illnesses, injuries and fatalities that greatly effect this growing immigrant population.