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NIOSH Teams on Innovative Safety Outreach with Hispanic Media

NIOSH Update:

Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 245-0645
March 31, 2008

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has partnered with the Spanish-language television network Telemundo, CPWR – the Center for Construction Research and Training, and Hollywood Health & Society to introduce an occupational safety storyline that will begin April 1 on a popular Telemundo telenovela or dramatic series.

The storyline on the series “Pecados Ajenos” will focus on the consequences of a serious workplace injury involving a fall from a ladder at a construction site, and how simple, inexpensive precautions can prevent such injuries. In the series, Tere, a young Hispanic woman working as a laborer, sustains the injury. “Pecados Ajenos” airs at 10 p.m. (Eastern time) on weeknights.

“This is a pioneering effort in combining education and dramatic entertainment to reach a large, Spanish-speaking audience with the important message that work-related injuries are serious but preventable, and moreover, to present the message in a culturally and dramatically meaningful way,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D.

“More than 2 million Latinos work in construction in the U.S., in jobs that can be among the most dangerous for workers,” Dr. Howard said. “This employment is transient in many cases, and language barriers often exist, making it difficult to provide meaningful safety and health education and training. We are excited to pursue this new avenue for reaching potentially hundreds of thousands of workers, their family members, and employers who might not otherwise have this information.”

In the story, Tere is injured when she loses her balance and falls from a ladder while climbing with tools in one hand. The injury has serious economic and personal consequences for her.

There are two basic safety precautions to keep workers safe and prevent falls in such circumstances: The worker should have two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand, on the ladder at all times. The worker should not carry tools or other materials in one hand while climbing. As a precaution to keep a ladder stable, it is good practice to tie the top and bottom of the ladder to fixed points.

In a public service announcement that is scheduled to be broadcast with the episodes of “Pecados Ajenos,” the importance of safety will be emphasized, and a link to a Spanish-language web page with information and resources will be provided. NIOSH and its partners will also evaluate the success of the storyline and the public service announcement.

Further information about the safety risks and preventive measures highlighted by the telenovela can be found at Additional Spanish-language resources from NIOSH for diverse industries and types of work are available at

Other contacts: Telemundo/NBC,; Hollywood Health & Society ; and CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training