As we gear up for the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo here at Vocalink, we’re thinking a lot about employee safety and security. When considering workplace safety, it is common to think of hazards, equipment, safety procedures, and rigorous compliance training. While those are certainly important factors in protecting the safety and health of your employees, it is vital not to forget about safety as an intangible concept.
Language & Workplace Safety
Imagine an employee whose native language is something other than English, working within a dominant English-speaking company. Although this employee has excellent conversational English skills, the specialized terminology surrounding things like chemical or biological hazards, safety equipment, and emergency procedures may not be part of the employee’s English vocabulary. This creates opportunities for the employee to feel unsafe within the workplace.
From onboarding a new associate to understanding day-to-day job responsibilities, to knowing emergency procedures, every employee is entitled to feel safe and secure in the workplace. This requires full comprehension of the situations mentioned above, which is not guaranteed if not communicated in a language the employee understands at the native level.
If you have a multilingual workforce, it’s critical to ensure your employees can read and understand all policies, employee documentation, and resources. It is also important for your workforce to have the ability to speak their own language, should a question or concern arise. Organizations across the globe turn to interpreting services to effectively communicate with their multicultural workforce.
Employees are more safe and secure when they’re communicating in their own language.
Employee Resources & Policies
For an employee to truly understand his or her job responsibilities, and to ensure a safe working environment for the whole team, all employee resources and policies should be available in the employee’s native language. This includes items like a company handbook, training materials, company mission, company values, list of job assignments and duties, etc. Without a proper comprehension of these items, an employer cannot expect an associate to feel secure with job responsibilities and the direction the company is taking him or her.
Company Benefit & Insurance Information
Insurance summary plan descriptions, policies, and enrollment forms include complex language and terminology. Although an employee might be fluently bilingual and even be a subject matter expert in the terminology pertinent to his or her job, the language of insurance may not be part of the employee’s English learning. Selecting healthcare coverage can be a very scary process without an understanding of the process and the options available. Providing documentation in the employee’s native language will allow him or her to make insurance decisions confidently.
Safety Policies & Emergency Procedures
Safety and emergency procedures are there not only to protect employees, but also instill peace of mind that the company has taken appropriate measures to prevent and correct safety hazards in the workplace. Having the information translated will make a big difference in the associate’s ability to meet your company’s goals and expectations when it comes to following policies and procedures, especially in an emergency.
Employee Safety Begins with Translation
Every employer with a multilingual workforce can benefit from translating essential employment and safety documentation. Employees who truly understand their employer’s mission, vision, values, policies, and processes are more engaged, feel safe and secure in the workplace, and promote overall safety and security by taking the preventative and corrective actions when and as needed. To help your multilingual workforce feel truly safe and secure while on the job, it is important to make sure they have what they need, in a language they understand, to live up to your company mission, values, and safety requirements.
Vocalink Global provides translation services to multicultural and global organizations every day. If you’re interested in hearing how you can increase the safety and security of your multilingual workforce, please connect with us today.
If you’re located in Ohio and planning to attend the Ohio Safety Congress & Expo March 6-8th, please visit us at booth #107. We look forward to seeing you there!