MESQUITE — The Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) has created an unprecedented alliance with other state and national agencies to deliver construction and general industry safety training to the oft-injured Spanish-speaking workforce in Texas.
More than 500 Spanish-speaking workers die on the job each year, which led TEEX to join forces with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); Mexican Consulate Texas; Hispanic Contractors Association; and Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce. TEEX, through its training campus in Mesquite, serves as the OSHA Southwest Education Center, which provides safety training and resources for Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
TEEX will deliver 24 construction and general industry safety training events statewide this year through the alliance. The agency will provide tuition and resources for as many as 500 Texas Spanish-speaking supervisors, foremen and safety practitioners, who will then provide safety training for Spanish-speaking construction and general industry workers throughout the state.
“The workforce in Texas is changing, and we need to ensure the safety of our Spanish-speaking workers on construction sites and in general industry,” said State Rep. Elvira Reyna, R-Mesquite. “I applaud the Texas Engineering Extension Service for pulling together key resources to address this growing issue and provide training through the agency’s campus in Mesquite.”
TEEX taught the nation’s first Spanish language-based trainer course in 2001 and over the following two years trained more than 100 experienced bilingual construction safety trainers, who have reached an additional 4,000 workers. TEEX also translated six OSHA construction industry-based publications to Spanish and 18 other OSHA publications over the past three years.
Texas has the second largest Hispanic population (6.7 million) of any state in the country. By the year 2030, Hispanics are projected to represent 53 percent of the Texas population.
TEEX will host a formal signing of the alliance on Tuesday, Feb. 1, at its Mesquite facility, located at 15515 IH-20 at Lumley (James W. Aston Blvd.). Officials scheduled to represent the alliance at the signing include John Miles, regional administrator for OSHA Region VI; Dr. Arturo Alonzo, TEEX deputy director; the Honorable Carlos Garcia de Alba, Consul General of Mexico, Mexican Consulate Texas; and Javier Arias, chairman of the Hispanic Contractors Association de Tejas.
A member of The Texas A&M University System, TEEX offers hands-on, customized training, exercises, technical assistance and technology transfer services impacting Texas and beyond.