As the area rebuilds following Hurricane Sandy, an initiative is underway to make sure local workers have the proper training and equipment.
Twenty-five hundred personal safety kits were distributed Tuesday by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
Workers were also trained in safety procedures.
Organizers said they want to help workers, many of whom don't speak English, protect themselves from injuries.
"They can definitely save their lives or prolong their lives," said Stuart Sydenstricker, a member of Wind of the Spirits. "Some of these diseases, like the ones from silica, cutting blocks and what not, are powders that you put into your lungs, and you're going to find results of that 20 years later. So if they're protecting themselves now, they're avoiding a 20-year down-the-road problem. It's very important to use equipment, and more than that, to know the risks to which they're exposed, and work with employers to see if they can change conditions so the risks are no longer there."
Much of the training was done in Spanish.
Organizers eventually hope to reach more than 5,000 workers.