Injuries and Illness

Hispanic and Latino Workers at Risk, Part II: Safety Training Tips

Many Hispanic and Latino workers are insufficiently trained in the hazards of their jobs and in safe work practices. This can happen even in workplaces where training schedules and outlines are rigorously adhered to, if employers fail to recognize the severity of the barrier posed by limited English proficiency. Even a worker who speaks English well enough to communicate with coworkers on a day-to-day basis may not be fluent enough to adequately comprehend training and informational materials that are provided in English.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) insists that an employer’s responsibility to provide employees with information and training about safety and health hazards applies even if the employee can’t understand standard English-language training programs. In such cases, employers must inform and train these workers in a language they can understand.

Training for Workers with Limited English Proficiency

When training employees with limited English skills, you need to take special steps to make sure the training is effective. According to a training publication by Oregon OSHA (OR-OSHA), the number-one rule for dealing with dialects and language barriers is “demonstrate, demonstrate, demonstrate.”


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Train by speaking, showing, and by asking for volunteers to repeat the task you’ve demonstrated.

  • Show the task.
  • Include all steps, including the safety steps.
  • Have workers repeat the task.
  • Observe the workers carefully.
  • Repeat the process until the worker does the task correctly.

OR-OSHA emphasizes that it’s not enough to hire a translator. You need to verify a translator’s or interpreter’s skill and language level. If the individual cannot sustain a fluent conversation for 2 to 3 minutes about the training topic, the interpreter is not qualified.


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You can also improve your odds of successfully conveying your safety message if your training is conducted by a team of workers that includes:

  • A technical leader—the person with the best safety-related skills and knowledge
  • A language leader—a worker who is fluent in both English and the workers’ native tongue
  • A social leader—someone who is well trusted by the group being trained and who can confirm the information given.

Of course, any effective training program begins with high-quality training materials, like the ones you’ll find in BLR’s Safety Training Presentations.

If you’ve been looking for quality training on electrical safety and lockout/tagout or on a wide range of safety concerns, look no farther. Safety Training Presentations gets you off to a good start with 25 core PowerPoint® safety presentations, each one responsive to either an OSHA training requirement or to common causes of workplace accidents. All are customizable, so you can add your specific hazards or safety policies.

Each lesson also includes completion certificates, sign-in sheets, evaluation forms, and training records. In short, it contains everything you need to motivate, reinforce, retain, and transfer new knowledge—and document that you did so.

In addition to electrical safety and lockout/tagout, Safety Training Presentation topics covered include:

—Bloodborne Pathogens

—Back Safety

—Emergency Action

—Ergonomics

—Fire Prevention

—PPE

—Welding/Cutting

—Portable Power Tool Safety

—Scaffolds

—Forklift Operator Safety

—Confined Space Safety

—Fall Protection

—Respiratory Protection

—And more!

Of course, training needs change as OSHA introduces new requirements or as new work practices and technologies bring new hazards. To cover this, you receive a new CD every 90 days you’re in the program, each containing five additional or updated topics.

Just as important for those on a budget (and who isn’t these days?), the cost of these presentations works out to under $20 each.

We’ve arranged for Advisor subscribers to get a no-cost, no-obligation look at Safety Training Presentations for 30 days. Feel free to try a few lessons with your own trainees. Please let us know, and we’ll be glad to set it up.