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4 Ways to Improve Your Safety Training For Non-English Workers

Posted In Business - By Techtiplib on Saturday, October 4th, 2014 With No Comments »

Many businesses operate with diverse cultures, races, and those with English as a second language. This is very prevalent for international companies that have operations in multiple countries across the globe. You will find that many other countries, especially those that do not have strict rules and regulations, are lax in their safety policies. Much of this is due to lack of experience, and companies that try to cut corners with time and cost. This is also the case for new businesses on the rise, since they have not yet run into problems associated with injury it is far from their minds. Go the extra step with these individuals to make sure they understand the potential hazards involved in the job. In an effort to make sure they understand, follow some of the simple steps listed below.

Safety Training

Avoid Colloquialisms

The English language contains many phrases and sayings that we have picked up over the years. Phrases such as, nip it in the bud or make sure we are on the same page are commonplace for those with English as a first language. We consider many phrases such as this to be evident and self-explanatory, while that is not the case for those that have English as a second language. Keep your instructions simple and direct. Telling an employee that there is more than one way to skin a cat may utterly confuse them even though they may not be willing to admit it. Whether your instruction is verbal or in writing double check to ensure that it is simple English void of conversational language. 

Provide Training Documents in Multiple Languages

One of the most recognizable things one can do is to provide safety instructions in multiple languages. This will help the individual to understand the information quickly without any guesswork. Many words will not directly translate from English to other languages, so be careful that someone who understands both does your translation.  Tools such as Google Translate can be unreliable and convey a message that is totally off from what was intended.  Comprehend the local culture, words and phrases used by that culture, and write your safety document after carrying out the steps of proper translation and everyday language speak. Not only will this explicitly state how to avoid risk of injury, but it will give the employee comfort in knowing exactly what is being said. Their confidence will grow, which will also put them in a more confident mind state to carry out the work without sustaining any injuries. 

Require Feedback

Requiring feedback is an excellent method to make sure the other person understands the information that is being conveyed. Once you can hear how they understand the safety information being provided, you can accurately discern whether they understand the same concept that you do. Exchanging information back and forth between parties is the best way to ensure the person understands the overall concept, risks involved and hasn’t missed any part of the safety briefing. Sometimes people that have English as a second language will claim they understand even when they don’t. This can be because they think they do, or are too bashful to ask for clarification. 

Hold Frequent Safety Briefings

Many of us can only retain a certain amount of information that is given to us. It is best practice to give constant reminders and instruction on safety tips for any worker. Workers that have English as a second or third language have the added challenge of understanding the correct information and remembering it. Make sure they keep utilizing proper practices to refresh their minds.

Author Bio:

Nick Quinlan works as a health and safety coordinator for a construction company based out of southern California, and has many workers who speak English as a second language he is responsible for. To help better coordinate his efforts, he makes use of software and training provided by eCompliance. You can learn more about Nick by visiting Google+.

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