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Mobile Unit Brings Bilingual Safety Training To Construction Sites

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DURHAM COUNTY — Construction workers no longer have to leave work for safety training; the classroom can come to them.

The State Department of Labor has a new mobile training unit called Labor One. Its training staff is prepared to teach in both English and Spanish.

N.C. Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said that the mobile classroom is the first of its kind -- not just in the state, but perhaps in the entire country.

"This is just a convenient way to bring safety training to the actual work site and gear the presentation to the actual conditions," Berry said.

Construction work is the most dangerous job in the state, accounting for 19 percent of all workplace fatalities last year.

Tuesday, a Hispanic construction worker died from injuries suffered after being struck by construction equipment in the Wakefield Plantation development in north Raleigh.

According to Raleigh police, the accident happened around 2 p.m. at a home under construction on Dunard Street, located off WakeField Pines Drive.

Last week,

three workers were injured

when scaffolding collapsed at a home also under construction at Wakefield Plantation. None of their injuries were life-threatening.

In North Carolina, 234 workers died in work-related accidents last year; 22 of those workers were Hispanic.

The mobile unit will visit housing units under construction, where workers are scattered and may not follow safety practices as they should.

"When there's residential construction, they have 80, 90, 100 houses and these people are over there doing their job. They do not put a harness on and I really stress that they need to have that harness on," said Ivette Mercado-Bijkersm, a Labor One safety instructor.

A visit from Labor One is free. The mobile service is expected to save contractors time, money and perhaps, save lives.