Language Limits Impacting Worker Safety Comprehension

Language Limits Impacting Worker Safety Comprehension

An engaging and easy-to-understand orientation and onboarding experience helps to set the tone for safety before workers start on construction sites. The trouble is that onboarding today doesn't have the best interests of the worker and safety at the center of the design.


The Challenge of Current Onboarding

For a moment, imagine the average worker onboarding experience today. It often involves waiting around when they just want to get to work, repetitive presentations, a lot of duplicate paperwork and on top of this, it's delivered in a language that they may not be fluent in. 

The construction workforce is diverse and this means many workers are limited English proficient (LEP), which can inhibit their comprehension of training and safety processes. We have a long history of migrant workers in construction and, with the labor shortage, this isn't changing anytime soon so we need to adapt our approach to improve safety and comprehension.

To equalize the playing field, one of the most impactful changes we can make is to ensure that systems, forms, and company and project-specific safety requirements are available in multiple languages for workers and site supervisors.


The Rising Need for Multi-language Support

Over the last five years in the US, the rate of workplace fatalities has increased the most for Hispanic and Latino workers and this rose from 16% of all workplace fatalities in 2016 to more than 22% of all deaths in 2020. 

In populations of LEP workers, including immigrant populations, similar trends can be seen which are largely attributed to language barriers present during training. This is a major concern for industries like construction because we employ a large number of LEP workers and where the risk exposure on sites is significant.

In the renewables sector, which is booming in Australia, almost 100% of the time the projects are in regional or remote parts of the country. Additionally, project teams are largely foreign workers who are often working in an overseas country for the first time as well as working in the outdoors in often extreme conditions. In situations like these, it is a high priority to support the safety of a culturally diverse workforce. 


Making Onboarding and Orientations Accessible

Making training and processes available in the native language of the worker is a first step. Beginning with the enrolment and orientation is a good start. However, safety doesn't stop at the orientation. On-going access to forms and processes in the chosen language of both workers and site supervisors can improve engagement throughout construction. 

Through research, we identified that:

  • Contractors are actively seeking ways to better support their diverse workforce 

  • Language support is required throughout the project, not just for orientations

  • Contractors often operate across multiple regions and countries with different languages while needing to maintain standardized systems and processes.

  • Acknowledge that machine translations create a mistranslation risk that can lower comprehension.


HammerTech's Multi-language Platform Launch

As of January 2024, HammerTech’s whole platform is now available in multiple languages!

We’re here to offer support to help increase access to safety for your workforce. 

Benefits for Workers and Contractors

For workers, this means:

  • Easier time navigating your enrolment processes

  • Improved safety engagement from day one

  • Language options are available whenever they engage with the platform - it does not stop at orientation. 

For General Contractors, the new multi-language options help with: 

  • Improved comprehension of daily processes such as pre-task plans and inspections

  • Higher quality safety engagement with workers and site supervisors

  • More workers completing orientations before arriving onsite saving site supervisors time

  • Inclusive business practices

  • Safer jobsites

Comprehensive Language Support

9 languages are now fully supported which means that the whole platform, not just the orientation pages, is more accessible to more workers. We support English (UK, Australia, US), Chinese (China), German, Spanish (United States/Mexico and Spain), French and Italian.  

An additional 11 languages are available for the most touch part of HammerTech including Worker Registration, the Menu, public project pages, and custom fields that have been configured in that language.  


Explore the New Experience

Get a taster of the new experience here:


Curious about other recent releases? Visit us at the link below to learn more.  


North America