Imagine you are working in a different country where you do not speak the language…
– Would you recognise a warning sign?
– Understand an important safety message?
if it were not in your native tongue?
This is a dilemma faced by migrant workers every day here in the UK and for obvious reasons it needs to be addressed and there is legislation which places responsibility clearly with either the employer or the agency providing staff to address health and safety and in particular issues relating to language and communication.
The Health & Safety Executive requires employers of migrant workers to address the following issues or run the risk of prosecution.
- Provide essential induction training and any necessary job-related/vocational training;
- Provide relevant information about the risks to which they may be exposed and the precautions they will need to take to avoid those risks;
- Consider the needs of workers who may not speak English well, if at all, and whether you need translation services;
- Make sure workers have received and understood the information, instruction and training they need to work safely and consider how to ensure it is acted upon;
- Make sure workers are adequately supervised and can communicate with their supervisors;
- Make sure workers know where and how to raise any concerns about their health and safety and about any emergency arrangements or procedures.
Language is fundamental to these issues and it is interesting they only consider translation, which while a solution, it is a sticking plaster contrasted with the lasting impact of providing language training for the migrant workers, the supervisor or indeed both.
Here at the Vici Language Academy we are adept at addressing these important health and safety issues and work with organisations to determine the most appropriate way to ensure language is not a barrier to health and safety.
This can include on-site training or here at the Academy and can including training the workers to be sure they understand key health and safety terminology through to wider relative language skills. Or alternatively we can equip those in a supervisory role with the language skills to speak to the workers. Ideally a combination of both can provide a belt and braces approach to health and safety.
There is also evidence that many migrant workers take lower paid work because of poor language skills; this means that with the right support and training your migrant workers could deliver at a higher level for your organisation.
So please put health and safety first and talk to the Vici Language Academy where we speak your language.