Breaking Down the Safety Training Language Barrier

28 February 2019

Worksites are changing dramatically in the US and the UK. English is no longer the dominant language in either. With more and more foreign workers entering the construction industry in both countries, the language change is transforming worksites and altering the way construction companies work.

This change is creating a language barrier that construction companies need to address. It is decreasing the effectiveness of health and safety training, slowing down the speed of contractor orientations , while hampering overall worker collaboration. It also reduces efficiency, productivity and profitability levels. GoContractor’s platform with its new language feature breaks down the language barrier, forming a healthier and safer workplace.

Growing Importance of the Language Barrier

The construction language barrier is growing in importance in both the UK and the US, as more and more foreign-born workers enter the workforce. For example, in the US, Hispanics make up 27.3% of the construction workforce. For many companies, the language barrier is becoming increasingly problematic. Miscommunication and misunderstanding are problems that are likely to increase the number of worksite accidents and other onsite mishaps.

Language Barrier

The language barrier is having the same impact on worksites in the UK. For example, a recent report by the U.K. Office of National Statistics, says that while English is still the predominant language, with nearly 50 million residents speaking it, other languages are taking over. Meanwhile, another report by the Chartered Institute of Building says foreign-born workers make up 10 percent of the UK construction workforce.

This language barrier has the potential to create serious problems for construction companies when it comes to onsite worker health and safety. For instance, in the US, ample research suggests that foreign-born workers are increasingly vulnerable to health and safety mishaps occurring. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fatal work injuries are considerably high among Latino and Hispanic workers, accounting for 789 in 2014.

The language barrier challenges companies to deliver successful health and safety training to non-English speakers, with no important details being left out or inaccurately described. This is especially true when it comes to inducting new recruits, particularly if they are performing face-to-face contractor orientations. For example, consistency is a crucial problem if a construction company operates across a range of sites and needs the expertise of many translators. Testing is also a challenge.   

GoContractor Breaks Down the Language Barrier

GoContractor’s platform with Auto-Text Reader helps construction companies break down the language barrier. The platform is available in the following languages: English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Brazilian. The platform boosts contractor health and safety while increasing efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

Language Barrier

This platform is also easy to use and navigate. It lets contractors fully induct workers before they even arrive on-site. With GoContractor, you can:

  • Ensure that nothing falls through the cracks during orientation and training
  • Customize contractor orientations , making them language and site-specific
  • Make sure workers never miss an orientation session
  • Allow workers to self-register and upload documents and images as required
  • Use different accents to make it easier for contractors to finish training
  • Make sure contractors get regular refresher training sessions and reminders of expiring qualification cards

The platform’s new Auto-Text Reader feature makes it easy for foreign-born workers to absorb and understand vital health and safety information. Auto-Text also allows workers to listen to the content as they read the written text. This new feature also provides hidden text to give a brief description of diagrams. Plus, the use of different accents within the platform makes it easier for contractors to complete training.

Auto Text Reader only works if the language is first loaded on the platform. Plus, the feature doesn’t change the written content.  Auto-Text is available in all the languages Amazon Polly supports. While other languages can be facilitated at a cost, adding new languages is simple, easy, and cost-effective.

Breaking down the language barrier issue is critical for today’s construction companies to carry out, especially when it comes to foreign-born contractors. GoContractor’s platform dismantles the language barrier that could easily hinder safety training.

Deploying the platform, with this impressive, modern feature enhances contractor orientations , decreasing the number of on-site risks and cutting down on both medical and compensation costs.

Jenny Snook
Jenny Snook

Jenny Snook is content executive at GoContractor with the job of researching the latest health and safety trends in the heavy industry. Her past-experience includes the research of large museum collections such as the Louth County Museum, many from the industrial age.

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