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Safety For All

Originally published: 08.01.07 by Tonya Vinas

Several resources can help contractors communicate important information to Hispanic employees.

The number of Spanish-speaking skilled workers in the hvacr trade is increasing, a trend that presents many challenges to business owners. One of the most important challenges is job instruction and safety. Fortunately, many groups have started to provide materials in Spanish focused on training and safety. Below are some of these resources for hvacr contractors.

LAMA Books
2381 Sleepy Hollow Ave.
Hayward, Calif. 94545-3429

LAMA Books publishes pocket-sized books of commonly used terms in English and Spanish.
1) Refrigeration Spanish: Contains 1,000 refrigeration terms translated from English to Spanish and from Spanish to English. Price is $5. Quantity discounts apply.
2) HVAC Spanish and Plumbing Spanish, two earlier pocket-sized books from LAMA Books, were released last year. Over the next couple of months LAMA Books will release Electrical Spanish, Roofing Spanish, and Plastering Spanish as part of this series.

Air Conditioning Contractors of America

style="font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif';">2800 Shirlington Road, Suite 300
Arlington, Va., 22206
Order by phone: 1-888-290-2220
General phone: (703) 575-4477

Section 608 Refresher Manual (Spanish) is available at the ACCA online bookstore. Additionally, individual ACCA chapters may offer Spanish-language materials, training or other support.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
1) Online Dictionaries: OSHA provides a variety of online dictionaries of construction and other words. These include: General OSHA Terms
Frequently Used General
Industry Terms
General Industry Terms
Frequently Used Construction
Industry Terms
Construction Industry Terms

2) OSHA Regional Hispanic/English-As-Second-Language (ESL) Coordinators
OSHA’s Hispanic/English-As-Second-Language (ESL) Coordinators assist a variety of groups, including small businesses, trade associations, union locals, and community and faith-based groups with outreach, education, and training to Spanish speaking workers. The coordinators are available for Hispanic-related seminars, workshops, and speaking events. They promote cooperative programs, such as the Alliance Program, as well as Spanish/other than English training materials, compliance assistance resources, and tools available on the OSHA Web site. There is one Hispanic/ESL Coordinator in each of the 10 OSHA Regions. OSHA’s Compliance Assistance Specialists also can provide general information about OSHA standards and compliance assistance resources. See chart below.

3) CÁpsulas de Salud y Seguridad, an electronic newsletter for Hispanic workers and their employers in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It presents a cross-section of information on workplace safety and health issues, particularly those affecting Hispanic workers. It can be mailed and is posted on OSHA’s Spanish-language Web site at www.osha.gov/as/opa/spanish/index.html.

Associated General Contractors (AGC)
2300 Wilson Boulevard
Suite 400
Arlington, Va., 22201
Phone: (703) 548-3118
Fax: (703) 548-3119

AGC carries several Spanish-language books and videos. Here are two that are relevant to hvacr contractors.
1) Book: Basic Safety Rules For Construction-Spanish (Normas de Seguridad) (Item #0151)
2) Video: On Your Guard-Power Tool Safety Video (Item #0417s)


Amazon sells many books and other resources related to Spanish-language construction employees. These include:
1) Easy to Learn Construction Spanish (audio CD), by Eduardo Gumucio
2) Survival Spanish for Construction (book), by Myelita A. Melton
3) DeWalt Spanish/English Construction Dictionary (book, illustrated), by Paul Rosenberg
4) Learning Construction Spanglish (book), by Terry Eddy and Alberto Herrera
5) Workplace Spanish for Home Builders & Contractors (book and audio CD), by Tom Sutula

Other resources could include:

  • Local literacy councils or education programs
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • Local community colleges or training centers
  • Private-sector foreign-language trainers

Tonya Vinas is a former editor of HVACR Business.


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