The Feminine Side of Safety


Walking into Panera this morning, I took a moment to watch some asphalt removal en proceso.


The guy was bent over, sawing a surprisingly geometrically precise rhombus in the parking lot. Smoke, dust and debris were billowing up in the worker’s face.


He was wearing the proper PPE gear – Safety Glasses, Mask, Ear Protection. Well, check that…. The Safety Glasses were perched on his forehead (presumably to see more accurately through all the smoke, dust and debris) and the mask was dangling around his neck (presumably to allow him to finish his cigarette). The Ear Protection was in place.


So… with the baseball season underway, I guess we can say 1-fer-3 aint bad.


There was a pause in the action, so I took the liberty of making a small suggestion to the Latino worker:


¡Oye! Máscara….”  

Hey! Mask…


He looked down at the Máscara, nodded in agreement, threw the cigarette on the ground and put on his mask. I was about to mention the Safety Glasses (Lentes :: LAYN-tays) too, but he revved up the saw. I walked into Panera and bought a coffee.



From what I understand about the benefits of breathing and the general discomfort of lung disease, putting on a mask to avoid inhaling smoke, dust and debris seems obvious.


So how can we help?


Well, Latinos are disproportionately more likely to be injured or killed on the jobsite because of language and cultural barriers, so let’s address how to say the word, Mask.







That little accent mark over the first “A” tells where the emphasis is, so that’s helpful. What is also helpful is the Spanish word for Mask starts with…. Mask…. MÁSCara.




But you may also notice Máscara is spelled the same way as that cosmetic substance for Darkening! Coloring! and Thickening! the eyelashes (I had to look that up….I swear.) – Mascara.




In that case, picture both Máscara and mascara on the same human face.






If the foto didn’t do it for you, maybe try this dumb one-liner…


The wicked fumes from her mascara required a Máscara to cover her mouth.

Bradley Hartmann is founder and el presidente at Red Angle (, a Spanish language training firm focused on the construction industry. He really did have to look up the specific benefits of applying mascara. He used Wikipedia.

Categories: Jobsite Leadership

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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