How can you create a safer workplace on construction sites without clear communication? Answer: You cannot. Consider this. Spanish-speaking workers make up about 30% of the workforce on a jobsite. If there is a breakdown in communication on construction sites due to a language barrier, it’s logical that these workers face a higher risk of injury.
OSHA attributes a higher risk of accidents and injury among non-English speaking workers, largely due to language barriers. If training and safety instructions are in English and workers speak only Spanish, critical details can be overlooked causing dangerous situations.
As more Latino workers continue to join the ranks of construction, it’s vital that construction communication is being addressed. Following are some ideas to improve jobsite communication and safety.
ESL or English as a Second Language can greatly improve the communication and skills of Spanish speaking workers. ESL online instruction and actual classes are both available. Not only will this improve communication and safety among workers, it will also improve morale.
By offering SSL or Spanish as a Second Language, supervisors and project managers can more effectively communicate with their entire team. Training sessions and meetings are much more successful when the materials are made available in both English and Spanish.
Helping team members learn more about working and communicating with the Hispanic members of your team creates greater cultural awareness. Improved cultural awareness can also help make the jobsite a safer place because it teaches better understanding.
Communicating better creates greater collaboration and reduces problems caused by language barriers. Through the innovations of technology and a closer look at improving communication on construction sites within a diverse workforce, construction projects can become more productive and much safer for everyone.