“Are You Meeting This OSHA Requirement? – “Are You Training Your Employees In A Language That They Understand?”

screenshot-www osha gov 2016-04-07 17-10-52

In order for your Environmental and Health Safety (EHS) training to be effective, you must have clear communication with trainees. This goal may be hard to achieve with workers who speak English as a second language (ESL).

However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that an employer’s responsibility to provide employees with information and training about safety and health hazards doesn’t go away because an employee can’t understand standard English-language training programs. When that is the case, employers must inform and train these workers in a language they can understand.

“As a general matter, employers are expected to realize that if they customarily need to communicate work instructions or other workplace information to employees at a certain vocabulary level or in a language other than English, they will also need to provide training to employees in the same manner,” says OSHA.

Serious Training Violations

OSHA’s training provisions contain a variety of specific requirements to ensure that employees are comprehending instruction. For example, standards covering lockout/tagout, respiratory protection, and bloodborne pathogens each require that employers take measures to ascertain the level to which the employee has comprehended the safety provisions.

In its instructions to inspectors, OSHA states, “If a reasonable person would conclude that the employer had not conveyed the training to its employees in a manner they were capable of understanding, then the violation may be cited as serious.”

Enhancing Comprehension

Although Spanish is the most common second language spoken in the United States, there are many other languages ESL workers might speak, including:

  • Chinese
  • Arabic
  • Vietnamese and Cambodian
  • Various African languages
  • Portuguese
  • French

Take these steps to make sure your training message is understood by ESL workers.

  • Speak slowly, explain fully, and repeat important points several times.
  • Choose the simplest words and avoid technical jargon. If you must use technical terms, explain them in simple terms.
  • Use a translator if appropriate.
  • Demonstrate while you speak, and use visual aids, such as pictures and props, to supplement your words.
  • Encourage participation. Be patient and help employees express their thoughts and questions.
  • Have employees practice new skills during the training session so that you can see if they’ve understood.
  • Use feedback to confirm comprehension. Allow extra time for questions.
  • Provide handouts in the language(s) trainees speak and read.
  • Follow up on the job to make sure that employees correctly apply what they learned.
The language barrier may be only part of the problem when training ESL workers.
Cultural differences can also affect communication. In many foreign cultures, for example, older people are treated with great respect and deference, whereas in the more casual North American culture, older people might be treated with more familiarity. For example, older Hispanic workers might be offended if they are addressed by their first name, preferring to be called “Señor” or “Señora.”
Updated Guidance from OSHA

In August 2015, OSHA posted a fully updated version of its guide to all OSHA training requirements. The document, Training Requirements in OSHA Standards, organizes the training requirements into five categories: General Industry, Maritime, Construction, Agriculture, and Federal Employee Programs.

Training Resources in Spanish Language

OSHA Sources

Non-OSHA Sources

Announcements

To find outreach training in Spanish, visit the Spanish Outreach Trainers listing. If you’re an outreach trainer who conducts the training in Spanish and you want your name added to the list, send the following information to outreach@dol.gov:

  • Name
  • Construction and/or General Industry
  • Company/Organization, if applicable
  • City/state
  • Phone
  • E-mail and/or website address, if applicable

Trainer Training

Etiquetas de Seguridad Industrial PVT-165-Q Bilingual Safety Tags, Lockout Tagout, Panduit

Somos Distribuidores y manejamos todos los productos para Candadeo y Tarjeteo para Seguridad Industrial (Lockout Tagout), si usted require alguno de estos productos o require algun apoyo técnico, pongase en contacto con nosotros:

Distribuidor: INNOVATIVE TRADE CENTER, Calle Tecoripa # 2. Fracc. Sandoval La Mesa C.P. 22105 Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.Tels: (664) 621-30-09 y (664) 621-37-36, E-mails: ventas@innovative.com.mx, soporte@innovative.com.mx, http://www.innovative.com.mx

  • Sources: OSHA & BLR
Advertisements

Comments Welcomed!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: