The U.S. Department of Labor announced Monday it’s partnering with the Consulate General of Mexico in Las Vegas to protect Mexican nationals working in the Nevada construction industry from health and safety abuses.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) representatives and members of the consulate are planning to provide Spanish-language training resources about whistleblower protections along with information on safety-related topics including heat illness, exposure to hazardous chemicals and electrocution.
They are expected to meet at least three times per year to track progress of the alliance.
“OSHA and the Consulate General of Mexico established this alliance to address hazards that cause injuries and fatalities among a large population of the construction workforce,” said OSHA Area Office Director Eric Brooks in Las Vegas in a statement. “This alliance signals a commitment to making safety a priority in the lives of Mexican nationals working in Nevada’s construction industry.”
Groups representing undocumented workers have long warned employers are taking advantage of people’s status to prevent them from obtaining better and safer working conditions.
During an Aug. 9 visit to Southern Nevada, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh heard several stories of labor abuses and employers taking advantage of immigrant workers, a problem that isn’t unique to the state.
“We shouldn’t be having these types of abuses in the United States,” he said during the event. “We’re going to do everything we can within the Department of Labor to right the wrongs and fix the problems.”
While Walsh said he would look into the stories to see what actions could be pursued at the federal level, a spokesman with the Labor Department said Julian Esqutia-Rodriguez, the Consul of Mexico in Las Vegas, had previously expressed interest in working with OSHA, as well as the department’s Wage and Hour Division, for some time.
The alliance is in effect for two years.
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