Safety First: How to Properly List Signage to Include Individuals With Different Primary Languages

People searching for warehouse jobs hiring in the Lehigh Valley come from a variety of backgrounds. Right now, your workforce includes people with different primary languages — and it will likely become even more diverse in the future.

You’re proud to be a multicultural company, but of course, having employees who speak different primary languages isn’t without its challenges. Warehouse environments are filled with potential hazards, so you want to make sure the signs you’ve posted around the building comply with all language requirements.

Here’s a look at both the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s standards on posting signs for workers with different primary languages.

 

OSHA Guidelines

Specific OSHA standards regarding posting signs in different languages are a bit vague.

Section 1910.145(e)(2) reads “Nature of wording. The wording of any sign should be easily read and concise. The sign should contain sufficient information to be easily understood. The wording should make a positive, rather than negative suggestion and should be accurate in fact.”

However, it’s worth noting the “OSHA Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law” poster is available in several languages beyond English. This includes Spanish, Arabic, Cebuano, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Nepali, Polish, Portuguese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

 

Department of Labor

OSHA is a division of the DOL, which also lists guidelines on government-sponsored posters in different languages. The DOL website includes this statement regarding federal workplace posters:

“With a few exceptions (FMLA, MSPA and Executive Order 13496), the U.S. Department of Labor’s regulations do not require posting of notices in Spanish or other languages. However, we encourage you to post the posters that are available in other languages on the Poster Topic page if employees in your workforce speak other languages.”

 

Workplace Injury Statistics

Specific guidelines regarding proper signage for warehouses with employees who speak different primary languages are rather vague, but that doesn’t mean you should do the bare minimum. Even if you can get away with only posting signs in English, that doesn’t mean you should do it.

Warehouse accidents can lead to serious injuries or even death. In fact, approximately 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2017, according to the DOL. Even worse — OSHA statistics revealed 4,674 worker fatalities in the private industry during calendar year 2017.

Failing to post proper signage can be a matter of life and death, so care enough about your workers to protect all of them.

 

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