October 24, 2017

Week two: Oct. 2-8, 2017 in Houston and Rockport, Texas

Mejia and Fisher worked to gather personal protective equipment (PPE) on Tuesday and attended a meeting with affiliates from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network. Working together with NDLON they devised a survey on needs assessment for day laborers affected by the hurricane. After the survey preparation, they compiled a list of emergency contact referrals for affected workers including local organizations and state departments.

The following day, Mejia and Fisher set out toward Gulf Way and were able to complete 78 surveys, and handed out 100 contact referrals to workers, along with mold factsheets. The SERTs visited devastated areas where families occupied dangerous living conditions with visible mold growth and canvassed with the same information and assistance.

On Thursday, the SERTs met with representatives from the Workers Defense Project who requested two days of a mold remediation train-the-trainer course for 25 participants. The training will take place next week. The Workers Defense Project is housed with the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation (AFL-CIO) where Executive Director Hany Khalil also requested training for affected members, and has secured seats in the training to be held Oct. 17 and 19.

Next they headed to Rockport where they continued outreach with NIEHS booklets and assessed training needs for workers in the area. Fisher reported that immediate training needs include fall protection, PPE, heat stress, silica awareness, electrical safety, and OSHA outreach 10-hour for construction and general industry. Additional, less immediate training needs consist of the use of specific power tools, respiratory, asbestos, lead, infectious disease and ergonomics. The training conducted was solely based on the workers’ needs for today.

Fisher and Mejia spoke directly to 96 workers, educating them with NIEHS training materials and also offering the printed materials.

On Friday the SERTs spent more time in Rockport reaching 205 workers and distributing training materials in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. The material included the recent curriculum to protect oneself while helping others during hurricane relief and also mold remediation.

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