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UMass Lowell, City of Lawrence to Announce $2.7 Million for New Worker Safety Program


* M E D I A   A D V I S O R Y *

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2007, 9 a.m.

WHAT: A community-university-labor partnership will use $2.7 million federal research funds to protect the health of Latino construction workers in Lawrence, especially preventing workplace falls and silica exposure.

The Lawrence Mayor’s Health Task Force, University of Massachusetts Lowell, and JSI Research and Training Institute Inc. and Laborers Union Local 175 of Lawrence will join forces to prevent falls that often kill or injure construction workers, as well as inhalation of the silica dust that can cause crippling lung disease. Hundreds of Hispanic workers die on the job every year around the nation and thousands more suffer injuries.

The effort ߝ called Protección en Construcción: Lawrence Latino Safety Partnership ߝ is receiving funding through UMass Lowell from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The institute, also known as NIOSH, is the area of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dedicated to researching the prevention of workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities. One of NIOSH’s research areas is preventing falls, the second leading cause of workplace deaths after motor vehicle crashes. Exposure to silica dust from grinding or cutting concrete is a major cause of potentially deadly conditions including silicosis, lung cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis and diseases of the airways. Death rates from these and other work-related conditions are especially high for Hispanics.

The prevention program, which will include worker training, will be used as a national model.

Attendees at the press conference are expected to include state legislators, occupational safety and health officials, and representatives of the city, UMass Lowell and Laborers Union Local 175, which has more than 600 members in the Lawrence area.
WHERE:  Lawrence Heritage State Park, 1 Jackson St., Lawrence

For more information, contact or 978-934-3224