Five tips for training non-English speaking employees
Construction Regulatory Alert
It’s very common to be on a construction jobsite nowadays and have non-English speaking employees. But these employees can often be neglected or forgotten about because employers don’t know how to address the language barrier. Surprisingly, OSHA’s standards don’t require employers to train workers specifically in English. Rather, OSHA requires that employees are trained and provided information that they are able to understand.
Using a bilingual instructor will ensure that your non-English speaking employees understand the safety policies and procedures at your company. If that is not practical, a bilingual employee may prove helpful in relaying safety messages. Remember, OSHA requires that training be presented using both a language and vocabulary that employees understand; Use a bilingual instructor.
If the employee’s vocabulary is limited, you must account for that limitation. Keep training materials simple and avoid technical jargon. Have them translated, as necessary; Keep it simple.
If employees are not literate, you will need to do more than tell them to read training materials. Signs, pictures, symbols, graphics, posters, and videos are a great way to relay important safety information. Use them during training and as daily reminders throughout the jobsite; Use visual aids.
The best way to ensure that employees understand how to do their job is to show them how to do it. Demonstrate lockout/tagout procedures, equipment setups, personal protective equipment use, tool maintenance, etc. Use demonstrations.
Reward bilingual employees who help out with workers who are not fluent in English. Also, consider providing instruction in learning the English language to non-English speaking employees. Over time, this may lessen the need to provide OSH Act training in other languages. Offer incentives.
Non-English speaking employee can bring much talent and diversity to the jobsite. It’s easy to think the center of the universe is where you’re standing. But non-English speaking employees can bring their culture, traditions, talents, and perspectives from other countries. This is invaluable information, especially for many companies that have a global footprint. We guarantee, the lunchroom will be much more interesting.
Key to remember: Remember, OSHA doesn’t require that all training and information must be provided to workers in English. Rather, workers must be provided training and information that they are able to understand.
You may also enjoy the following articles:
Warehouse storage: Shaving cream subject to process safety rule?
Have you done your facility PPE hazard assessment
Quick Tip — Are floor signs (that are adhered to the floor) required to warn employees of hazards ahead of them?
View all workplace safety-related articles...
manual provides how-to explanations and guidance on critical OSHA §29 CFR 1926 regulatory topics as they directly pertain to construction activities. This publication takes you beyond what the regulations are and provides you with information on how to comply with them and implement them, as well as providing relevant information based on OSHA's own interpretations of the regulations. OSHA Compliance for Construction Activities
View our of compliance publications. full library
START YOUR FREE TRIAL