The new Workers’ Guide to Health and Safety, published last month by Hesperian, is not only geared for working people, but was created with the input of workers around the world who ensured the guide includes helpful information in an easily-accessible format, says Miriam Lara-Meloy, a project coordinator at Hesperian Health.
Workers from 25 countries “gave us feedback on the book” in addition to technical review by experts, educators and worker advocates, says Lara-Meloy, speaking recently at the Solidarity Center’s Washington, D.C., office. Solidarity Center staff contributed to the review process.
The guide’s content covers issues such as chemical exposure, fire safety and ergonomics, with step-by-step procedures to follow in case of accident or injury. But the book also addresses issues like workplace sexual harassment and pollution outside the plant, recognizing that workers’ well-being also depends upon broader societal issues.
Further, says Lara-Meloy, the book is written to address the workplace “power dynamic”—one in which workers, especially young workers, find it difficult to approach their employer about making health and safety improvements.
The guide covers all issues from a social justice perspective, says Lara-Meloy, and ultimately, “the goal is to take action, join with others, create solid campaigns.”
Hesperian Health Guides, a nonprofit organization based in Northern California, produces easy-to-understand health information and educational tools, which have been translated into more than 80 languages. All materials, except for recent publications, are free and downloadable.