Safety? Seguridad? It’s the Same in Any Language


Safety? Seguridad? It’s the Same in Any Language

Providing proper training in Spanish
doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

Know Your Limitations Spanish posterThere’s nothing muddy about the water when it comes to ensuring your Spanish-speaking employees have thorough and appropriate safety training. OSHA’s position on providing a safe work environment for everyone is clear: employers are required to instruct their employees, “using both a language and vocabulary that the employees can understand.”

The first thing to do is evaluate if you need to provide your training in Spanish. OSHA’s rule of thumb is, if you frequently, or generally, need to provide other instruction/training or everyday communication in Spanish, you also must provide your safety training in Spanish.

Thankfully, providing proper training in Spanish doesn’t need to be a daunting task. To aid in the compliance process, OSHA offers its Compliance Assistance Quick Start: Hispanic Outreach, which includes a variety of tools to help employers understand the workplace rights and responsibilities that surround their Spanish-speaking employees. This includes both English-Spanish and Spanish-English dictionaries that contain more than 400 OSHA safety terms.

Several of SBCA’s component manufacturing, industry specific programs are available in English and Spanish, including the employee training modules for the Operation Safety Program, Forklift Certification Program and, most recently, Housekeeping Combustible Dust Program. You may also want to consider providing “live” training in Spanish, best case by designating one or more employees who speak both English and Spanish to translate and present the necessary information for your facility. Outside training resources are another option, but it is important that the person you hire to convey the information to your employees understands the necessary intricacies of your individual component plant’s safety program.

As another alternative to providing instruction in Spanish, you may want to consider providing your Spanish-speaking employees with the opportunity to learn, or more thoroughly learn, the English language. Although this would likely be a larger time and financial investment initially, the benefits your bilingual employee(s) could bring to the company would be apparent over time.

No matter how you choose to approach it, by law, your employees have the right to a safe and healthy work environment. For more information on OSHA’s Spanish resources, visit the OSHA website. To order any of SBCA's Spanish programs, visit the SBCA website.

¡La seguridad primero! (Safety first!)