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Viet-AID of Dorchester: Healthy Floor Finishing Project

Project Details

Year: 2007 & 2008 & 2009
Location: Dorchester
Project Manager: Hiep Chu, Former Executive Director & Hoa-Mai Nguyen, Director of Programs
Partners: Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health, Vietnamese-American Small Business Association/Viet-AID, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Department of Work Environment, Bowdoin Street Health Center, New Ecology, Inc.

During their first year of funding, The Healthy Floor Finishing Project, managed by the Vietnamese-American Initiative for Development (Viet-AID), developed and distributed materials in Vietnamese that included recommended product substitutions as well as fire prevention and basic health and safety information. Hands-on training on how to use alternatives was also conducted.

Recent house fires left three Vietnamese floor finishers dead and others badly burned in Somerville and Hull. Research found that fires in hardwood floor finishing frequently result from the use of highly flammable products. To protect workers in the Boston area, many of whom are Vietnamese, the Healthy Floor Finishing Project developed and distributed materials in Vietnamese that included recommended product substitutions as well as fire prevention and basic health and safety information. In addition to reducing fire hazards, adopting safer alternatives can help reduce exposure to toxic chemicals. The project also developed and distributed an educational program in Vietnamese for cable television. The project also conducted several hands-on training sessions on how to use safer alternatives.

As specific accomplishments of the project, Viet-AID:

  • Developed TUR curricula and provided two hands-on training sessions to a total of 41 floor finishing owners and workers, double the number they planned to reach.
  • Developed TUR brochure in English and Vietnamese, disseminated 900 through floor finishing product distributors.
  • Conducted 3 television segments, monthly public service announcements on Vietnamese language TNT radio and newspaper articles on Thang Long and Tieng Chuong newspapers, raising awareness of TUR for thousands of floor finishers and community members.
  • Developed video/DVD on TUR and distributed to 100 floor finishers.
  • Worked closely with their partner- Mass COSH and Floor Task Force, identifying one new regulation to promote TUR.

In their second year of funding, Viet-AID built on their existing program and continued to conduct hands-on training for Vietnamese floor finishers in the Boston area. They also added to the project by helping floor finishers promote the safer products to consumers. Many people are unaware of the risks of commonly used flammable lacquer sealers, and that safer floor finishing products exist. Viet-AID created a bi-lingual Healthy Floor Finishing website targeting both consumers and floor finishers about safer products and practices, upcoming training and events, and referrals to floor finishers trained in using less toxic products.

Viet-AID provided training and technical assistance for floor finishers on marketing healthier, environmentally friendlier floor finishing to consumers and in using safer, greener practices to strengthen their businesses. To further reach consumers, Viet-AID integrated safer floor finishing product information into their First Time Homebuyers Program, property management training and procedures, and small business development.

In their third year of funding, Viet-AID produced a video about the safer alternatives to educate additional floor finishers.

Learn more about Viet-AID at their website.


This page updated Thursday March 24 2022