Fulfilling Our Mission, One Language at a Time
In January, AIHA announced Recursos en español, a comprehensive library of public resources written in the Spanish language that promotes health and safety in workplaces and communities. The new feature came on the heels of AIHA's announcement that the Back to Work Safely guidance documents, developed in response to COVID-19 business closures, were also available in Spanish.
These two initiatives are a stepping stone in helping AIHA get closer to fulfilling its mission: healthier workplaces and a healthier world.
As an organization focused on improving workers' and workplaces' safety and health, providing accurate information is crucial in achieving our mission. Making sure this information is easy to access is just as important. What's the point of building a shelter across the river if you are not going to build a bridge to help people get to that shelter?
In the United States, Spanish is the first language for 43 million people (13 percent of the population) and is spoken by an additional 12 million bilingual Spanish speakers. About 17 percent of the 26.8 million Hispanic workers in the U.S. speak limited English. How can we help keep these workers safe if we don't provide them with information that is easy to understand? Making these resources available in Spanish helps close the gap of information.
A Healthier World
Offering these public resources in Spanish will help not only Spanish-speaking workers in the U.S. It also presents an opportunity to reach Spanish-speaking IH/OEHS professionals and communities and expand our circle of collaborators throughout Latin American countries. If 2020 taught us anything, no one is an island (and you can never make too much sourdough bread). The efforts for healthier and safer workplaces cannot be effective if made in a vacuum. Collaboration beyond borders is a high priority for AIHA and our members, just as it was when AIHA called on volunteers to support Australian emergency response workers during the 2019-2020 wildfire season and took up donations for healthcare workers in China, who needed PPE and other equipment in the light of the novel coronavirus.
Thanks to AIHA members such as Board director Lucinette Alvarado, CIH, who have volunteered to translate these resources, AIHA has broadened its global reach and made vital resources even more accessible.
Creating these resources is only half of the work: we need your help to share them far and wide. Please email a friend or post about this on social media. By doing so, you will help make the world a healthier place.