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Are you being understood?

27 August 2008

Many companies and agencies are reliant on migrant workers to maintain their staffing levels. Though speaking English is always a basic requirement, it is a fact that many staff members do struggle with anything beyond basic day-to-day communication.

Are you being understood?
Are you being understood?

In a recent Operational Circular to inspectors, the HSE reminded employers of their responsibilities in making foreign language training available to their migrant staff. To avoid potential conflicts with the Race Relations Act, it said employers should be “providing safety training sessions in relevant alternative languages to English”

Paragraph 64 of the guidance to the Approved Code of Practice ‘Management of Health and Safety at Work’ advises: “The information provided should be pitched appropriately, given the level of training, knowledge and experience of the employee. It should be provided in a form, which takes account of any language difficulties or disabilities. Information can be provided in whatever form is most suitable in the circumstances, as long as it can be understood by everyone. For employees with little or no understanding of English, or who cannot read English, employers may need to make special arrangements. These could include providing translation, using interpreters, or replacing written notices with clearly understood symbols or diagrams.”

Bonus Fire, one of the UK’s leading fire safety providers, have solved the problem by introducing a new Multi Language Edition of it’s best selling DVD pack ‘How to Choose and Use Fire Extinguishers’.
Filmed at the Humberside Fire Service training centre, the Multi Language Edition of ‘How to Choose and Use Fire Extinguishers’ covers: how fires start, the classes of fire, cooking-oil fires, fire blankets, how to choose and use the four main fire extinguishers.

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