Hispanics don’t punt.

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Welcome to Hispanic Heritage months!

Half of September and half of October are collectively… one single Hispanic Heritage mes.


¿Por qué?

No se.


This time of year is also known as NFL season, so let’s bring it all home with a simple truth: Hispanics don’t punt.


Coaches opt to punt when there’s too much risk on 4th down.

Despite the opportunity to execute an offensive play, they kick it away to the other team and say, “Here. You take it. This situation I’m in is too dangerous.


Punting is the gerund behind the phrase, “Live to see another day….”

To punt is to play it safe.

Hispanics don’t punt.



As a manager and leader on the jobsite, this knowledge can literally mean life and death.

Hispanics don’t play it safe on the jobsite, evidenced by the fact they are disproportionately more likely to be injured or killed on it. Many do not live to see another day.




Hispanics don’t punt.


For example, have you ever had a Hispanic worker come up to you and say, “Hey man, I’ve got some safety concerns about that bigass ditch you’re sending me into…. Sure you don’t need a trenchbox or something?





In contrast, you most frequently receive the Hispanic Head Nod.


“Oye… You understand what I’m saying?”

Sí, si. (amidst several quick head nods)


“You know what to do?”

Sí, si. (amidst several quick head nods)


“You gonna finish today?”

Sí, si. (amidst several quick head nods)


“You just saying yes to everything I’m asking?”

Sí, si. (amidst several quick head nods)


“You want to die today?”

Sí, si. (amidst several quick head nods)


Ayyyy dios mío….



Could there be a language barrier there?

Sí, si. (amidst several quick headnods)


But there’s something else going on here: a cultural element.


Hispanics relate to power much differently than your typical gringo.

Hispanics have a much higher respect for authority.

If the boss tells José to jump in the hole and get to work, well, who is he to question it?



The boss is the boss for a reason.

José respects that.



Adding to the respect for authority is the collective nature of Hispanics.

Hispanics are often large cohesive groups.

On any one concrete crew there may be fathers, sons, brothers, cousins, and friends of friends who are considered cousins. Hispanics are like Corporal Barnes during the cross examination in A Few Good Men: “Well, sir, like everybody else, I just followed the crowd at chow time, sir.





It’s a collective culture.

Stick with the clan.

Keep your head down and work hard.



When dangerous situations arise, Hispanics don’t punt.

They don’t raise their hand and ask for the P.E. to re-examine the soil conditions once more… just to be sure we’ll all leave this hole alive. They jump in the hole and get to work. Hispanics always go for it on 4th down.


As a leader, you know communication and culture drive behavior.

Do you have a communication barrier on the job?


As for culture, you now know Hispanics don’t punt.

How will that impact your safety leadership decisions?



Don’t worry, you have time.

The Hispanic Heritage Months end in 20 days.




Bradley Hartmann is founder and El Presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a training, consulting and eLearning firm bridging the English-Spanish language gap in the construction industry.

Categories: Construction Spanish, Jobsite Leadership

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