Pedro Lopez: Delivering Bilingual Construction & Safety Training to the Hispanic Community

4/28/2020

​“Prior to joining Opus, I was a senior safety compliance investigator for Minnesota OSHA," said Pedro Lopez, Regional Safety Manager. “I saw a distinct need for a trade organization to provide safety programs for the underserved and underrepresented Hispanic construction community in Minnesota. At that time, like today, there were many great construction organizations, but none provided effective technical and tactical safety training in both Spanish and English."

So, Pedro took it upon himself to correct the problem. With some initial help from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, he formed a 501 C (6) nonprofit organization – the Hispanic Contractors Association of Minnesota (HCAMN). 

Since its inception eight years ago, the HCAMN has provided free safety education and training to Hispanics and other minorities working in construction in Minnesota. In addition to bilingual, bicultural, technical and tactical OSHA construction safety training, HCAMN promotes cultural pride, integrity and professionalism to its members.

“This was something the Hispanic construction community in Minnesota desperately needed," said Pedro. “HCAMN serves all Hispanic construction workers, regardless of who employs them."  

HCAMN provides a whole series of services and expertise, including OSHA-10 and 30 safety training in both Spanish and English, OSHA compliance citation consulting services and development and implementation of safety programs. Periodically during the summer months, Pedro hosts a live 30-minute radio segment on a local Minneapolis-St. Paul Spanish radio station, El RAY 94.9 FM. He covers topics like construction safety best practices, OSHA safety requirements and MNOSHA compliance site visit and audit protocols. To promote the show and interaction with listeners, questions are presented and people who call in with correct answers win giveaway items like gloves, safety glasses, first aid kits, Class 2 high visibility vests and LeapFrog English Learning programs designed specifically for Hispanic construction workers.

Pedro's commitment to supporting the Hispanic construction community doesn't end with HCAMN. In 2014, he met with Former Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry, Ken Peterson, and persuaded him to comply with the federal law of the Department of Human Rights (1964 title VI and VII), which requires providing MNOSHA documents in Spanish for Hispanic-owned contractors and employees.

Through these concerted efforts, Pedro is changing and saving lives in the Hispanic construction community in Minnesota.

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At Opus, the safety of our associates and the general public is a priority on all of our projects. Promoting a safe work environment is an important part of our corporate culture. Learn more.