CULTURE AND SAFETY
CROET
Safety and Health for the Limited-English-Speaking Workforce:
Challenges and Successes
June 9, 2006
Revised 01/97
OHSU
OR-OSHA Mission Statement
To advance and improve workplace safety and health for all workers in Oregon.
Consultative Services
• Offers no-cost on-site safety and health assistance to help Oregon employers recognize and correct safety and health
problems in their workplaces.
• Provides consultations in the areas of safety, industrial hygiene, ergonomics, occupational safety and health
programs, new-business assistance, the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), and the
Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).
Enforcement
• Offers pre-job conferences for mobile employers in industries such as logging and construction.
• Provides abatement assistance to employers who have received citations and provides compliance and technical
assistance by phone.
• Inspects places of employment for occupational safety and health rule violations and investigates workplace safety
and health complaints and accidents.
Appeals, Informal Conferences
• Provides the opportunity for employers to hold informal meetings with OR-OSHA on workplace safety and health
concerns.
• Discusses OR-OSHA’s requirements and clarifies workplace safety or health violations.
• Discusses abatement dates and negotiates settlement agreements to resolve disputed citations.
Standards & Technical Resources
• Develops, interprets, and provides technical advice on safety and health standards.
• Provides copies of all OR-OSHA occupational safety and health standards.
• Publishes booklets, pamphlets, and other materials to assist in the implementation of safety and health standards and
programs.
• Operates a Resource Center containing books, topical files, technical periodicals, a video and film lending library,
and more than 200 databases.
Public Education & Conferences
• Conducts conferences, seminars, workshops, and rule forums.
• Presents many workshops that introduce managers, supervisors, safety committee members, and others to
occupational safety and health requirements, technical programs, and safety and health management concepts.
Additional Public Education Services
 Safety for Small Business workshops
 Interactive Internet courses
 Professional Development Certificates
 On-site training requests
 Access workshop materials
 Spanish training aids
 Training and Education Grants
 Continuing Education Units/Credit Hours
For more information on Public Education services,
please call (888) 292-5247 Option 2
Portland Field Office
Salem Field Office
Eugene Field Office
Medford Field Office
Bend Field Office
Pendleton Field Office
(503) 229-5910
(503) 378-3274
(541) 686-7562
(541) 776-6030
(541) 388-6066
(541) 276-9175
Salem Central Office: (800) 922-2689 or
(503) 378-3272
Web Site: www.orosha.org
This material is for training use only
The lesson plan
CHALLENGE
LANGUAGE
LITERACY
DIALECTS
TRANSLATORS
CULTURE
OBSTACLES TO COMMUNICATION
QUOTES
EFFECTIVE TRAINING TEAM
WORKER PARTICIPATION
KNOW YOUR WORKERS
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
The challenge
OSHA rules require that
workers be trained BEFORE
they are exposed
to hazardous work.
And . . .
OSHA rules require that workers be
effectively supervised WHILE
they are working.
It takes about 5-6 years for someone learning a new language to
reach professional-level, second-language proficiency.
It takes about 5-10 years for someone learning a new culture to
reach second-culture proficiency.
The challenge . . .
Bridging a 5-10 year language and culture gap BEFORE an
accident happens.
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Language and literacy
Language comprehension: Knowing what sounds
are in a language and what sounds are not.
You know English if house signifies
You know French if maison signifies
You know Spanish if casa signifies
Did you know?
There are no “primitive” languages - all
languages are equally complex and equally
capable of expressing any idea in the universe.
Literacy
U.S.A.
Russia
Mexico
Vietnam
92%
90%
99%
95%
100%
100%
100%
100%
Secondary enrollment
88%
83%
63%
62%
Tertiary enrollment
83%
69%
22%
10%
-
8
12
26
27
33
26
Primary enrollment
Survival rate to 5th grade
Poverty
(% of population on less than $2 a day)
(poverty population in millions)
“Literacy is the cornerstone of human development and economic growth.”
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Dialects
Dialects are the form or variety of a
spoken language peculiar to a region,
community, social group, or occupational
group. Sometimes referred to as jargon or
lingo.
Southern U.S.
Dealing with dialects...
hoe cakes
fly flapper
1.
Encourage workers, supervisors and
managers to ask questions when they
hear a word they don’t understand
and before taking action.
2.
Assume the worker has not
understood until the supervisor or
manager has demonstrated.
3.
Develop training programs with the
actual objects and tasks management
expects the workers to perform.
British
amber
hole in the wall
Australian
whinger
rubber
Metaphors are fun and say a lot about your culture. But they can be tricky.
It’s usually best to avoid them unless you spend the time to explain them:
“Step up to the plate and grab the bull by the horns.”
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Translators
Electronic translators do not work.
Please do not use electronic translators to communicate
safety information.
If electronic translators worked, the first
and last sentence should be the same
(or at least, very close in meaning):
ENGLISH (SOURCE)
GERMAN (SOURCE)


TO GERMAN (TARGET)
TO ENGLISH (TARGET)
Johnny went to the store to buy milk on a cold, rainy day.
Johnny ging zum Speicher, Milch an einem kalten, regnerischen Tag
zu kaufen.
Johnny went buying rainy day to the memory, milk at a cold.
Translator: Google Language Tools
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Translators & Interpreters
Translators convert SOURCE language to TARGET
language in writing.
Interpreters convert SOURCE language to TARGET orally.
Employers can and should verify translator’s and interpreter’s accuracy.
TIP
If the instructor and
the interpreter can’t
sustain a fluent
conversation
for 2-3 minutes
about the training
topic before
the training,
the interpreter
is not qualified.
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Translators & Interpreters
Translators and Interpreters can be:
Workers
Professionals (Yellow pages, Courts, Hospitals, and Language Associations
have lists of them)
Translating services (Language banks)
Should you give preference to the native speaker of the TARGET language? YES!
Example:
Which is correct?
THE TREE BIG GREEN
THE BIG GREEN TREE
Even if someone doesn’t know the rule that in English, adjectives precedes nouns,
native speakers will know which is correct by the sound.
American Translators Association: http://www.atanet.org/
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Culture
Culture is communication and communication is culture.
Edward T. Hall
The Silent Language
Culture refers to a large group of people who over generations, have
accumulated certain:
Knowledge
Experience
Meanings
Beliefs
Values
Time concepts
Religions
Relationships
Spatial relations
Culture summarized:
“It’s the way we do things
around here!”
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Obstacles to communication
HIERARCHY
The ranking order in a society. Also called the “pecking order.”
Classified as Flat or Steep.
Flat Hierarchy:
 Good example is the U.S. Even the constitution says: “All men are
created equal...”
 Encourages people to explore, take risks.
 People feel it’s O.K. to participate and debate.
 People are informal with each other. Strangers talk to each other.
Steep Hierarchy
 Asian and Latin countries have steep hierarchies.
 People respect social classes. People born into a class usually die in
that class.
 Order and harmony is highly valued.
 People are formal. Strangers don’t talk.
TIP
Employers must teach workers from other cultures that in the U.S., we have
a flatter hierarchy.
 Tell workers that they should EXPECT that someone ranked higher will
ask their opinion: “What do you think?”
 Tell workers that the boss EXPECTS them to take the initiative: “If it
is broken, fix it.”
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Obstacles to communication
GENDER
Many cultures regard certain behaviors as either masculine or
feminine.
In many cultures, gender determines what you can and can’t do.
In some cultures, it is acceptable for a man to stare at a women in public.
In some cultures, it is incomprehensible that a woman may give a direct
order to a man.
TIP
Employers must teach workers from other cultures how women in the U.S.
workplace should be treated. A hostile work environment can occur if
employers don’t deal with gender issues promptly and directly.
 Tell workers that they should EXPECT that women in the workplace
participate equally in making decisions and giving directions to men.
 Tell workers that in the U.S., it is skill and ability that determines
what a worker can and can’t do - not gender.
 Explain to workers that in the U.S. there are laws that protect workers
from gender discrimination or harassment.
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Obstacles to communication
AGE
Some cultures will not permit younger people to advance in society or
career until they reach a certain age.
TIP
Employers must teach their workers that in the U.S., it is skill and
ability that determines what a worker can and can’t do.
GOVERNMENT VERSUS FAMILY
People who can rely on effective governments (U.S., England, Denmark)
are more likely to follow their country’s laws.
People from cultures with less effective governments rely on extended
family relationships for goods and services. Government laws and rules
take second place.
TIP
Employers must teach their workers that in the U.S., the laws and rules
must be followed.
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Obstacles to communication
U.S.A
LATIN AMERICA
Product-oriented
People-oriented
Hard working;
values time
Hard-working; values
enjoying time
Decision-making by lower and
middle management
Decision-making by
top management
Direct communication:
Yes / No
Indirect communication:
Preserves dignity of both saying No difficult
Pride in competitiveness
Pride in cooperation
More willing to accept close
supervision
Feels that close supervision
shows lack of trust
Shifts to informal as
soon as it’s possible
Prefers formality until a real
relationship exists
TIP
We use translators and interpreters for written and verbal communication.
We should also use interpreters for cultural communication.
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Quotes . . .
What Are Immigrant Workers Saying About Safety?

We feel vulnerable because we don’t have papers to work
legally so we don’t really have a right to complain about
dangerous working conditions.

If we ask for personal protective equipment, we’ll be turned
over to the INS or fired and then placed on “blacklist” which
will be shared with other employers.

When we learn to read English, we’ll finally be able to read
the hazard warnings on the chemical containers.

We would do our work more safely if we were trained how even a brief safety meeting before starting the job and how to
do it safely would help a lot.

It would be good to have educational materials in our
language. Some of us can read in our language.

Many of us worry all the time about getting injured on the job
and we also worry what’s going to happen to us in the future
from the chemicals we’re working with today.
Excerpts from Voices From the Margin, Immigrant Workers’ Perceptions of Health and Safety in the Workplaces.
UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program. www.losh.ucla.edu
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Form an effective training team
To be effective, newly hired workers must learn many things quickly.
They must learn how to do the job, they must learn how to act safely,
and they must learn the workplace’s unique culture.
It is important for owners who hire Hispanic workers with limited
English skills to know that because of this language barrier, these
workers need more help than native English speaking workers in
learning how to do the job, how to act safely, and how to be
consistent with the owner’s beliefs and values.
Form an effective training team consisting of the following key
people:
Language Leader – The person
with the best bilingual skills.
Social Leader – The person the group
recognizes as their leader.
Technical Leader – The person
with the best skills and knowledge to get the job
done.
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Form an effective training team
Training
Team
Workers
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Initiate worker participation
Have a Conversation About Cultural Attitudes Toward Safety
Asking someone’s opinion makes them feel valued. Here are safety questions to ask
that will make the workers the experts and will teach you about them!

What rights do workers have in your country regarding a safe work
environment?

During the time you have been working in the United States, do you pay
a) more attention
b) less attention
c) same attention
to safety than you had to pay in your country?

Which safety rules here are different from those in your country? What
safety rules are the same?

Are there safety committees in your country? If so, how often do they meet?

In the companies you worked for in your country, were safety inspections
conducted?

From your work experience, what happened in case of a serious injury in
your country?

Did you use personal protective equipment in your country? Was it
voluntary or mandatory?

What are some of the reasons that people don’t follow workplace safety rules
even though they know them? (U.S. or in your country)
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Know your workers
RUSSIA
Population:
142,893,540
Ethnic groups:
Russian 79.8%,
Tatar 3.8%
Ukrainian 2%
Bashkir 1.2%
Chuvash 1.1%
other or unspecified 12.1%
Top trading partner:
Netherlands (9%)
(!)
Languages:
Russian, many minority languages
National holiday:
Russia Day, 12 June (1990)
Legal system:
based on civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Vladimir Vladimirovich PUTIN
head of government: Premier Mikhail Yefimovich FRADKOV
SOURCE: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Know your workers
VIETNAM
Population:
84,402,966
Ethnic groups:
Kinh (Viet) 86.2%
Tay 1.9%, Thai 1.7%, Muong 1.5%
Khome 1.4%, Hoa 1.1%, Nun 1.1%
Hmong 1%, others 4.1%
Languages:
Vietnamese (official),
English (increasingly favored as a second language),
some French, Chinese, and Khmer
Top trading partner:
U.S. (20%)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 2 September (1945)
Legal system:
based on communist legal theory and French civil law system
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Tran Duc LUONG
head of government: Prime Minister Phan Van KHAI
SOURCE: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Know your workers
MEXICO
Population:
107,449,525
Ethnic groups:
mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%,
Amerindian 30%,
white 9%,
Top trading partner:
U.S. (87%)
other 1%
Languages:
Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages
National holiday:
Independence Day, 16 September (1810) (Not Cinco de Mayo)
Legal system:
mixture of US constitutional theory and civil law system; judicial review of
legislative acts; accepts compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction,
with reservations
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Vicente FOX Quesada
head of government: President Vicente FOX Quesada
note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
SOURCE: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Know your workers
HISPANIC NAMES - Which is the last name?
JUAN
CARLOS
RAMIREZ
FIRST
NAME
MIDDLE
NAME
FATHER’S
LAST
NAME
ORTEGA
MOTHER’S
MAIDEN
NAME
If you ask me my name and we have not met, my culture compels me to tell you
my FULL name: Juan Carlos Ramirez Ortega.
Why?
__________________________________________________
__________________________________________________
Now that we’ve met, you don’t have to use my mother’s maiden name.
Call me: Mr. Ramirez, Juan Ramirez, or Juan (Before using “Juan” it’s polite if
you ask, “may I call you Juan?”).
AND LAST...
Consider posting a large map on the wall and provide push-pins to identify
places of origin. (Lots of fun!)
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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This material is for training use only
Programa en Español de Seguridad e Higiene en el
Trabajo de OR-OSHA
OR-OSHA Occupational Safety and Health
Program in Spanish
These modules are
designed to be taught in
30 to 60 minutes.
Estos instructivos están
diseñados para ser
enseñados en 30 a 60
minutos.
Obtain these bilingual training
modules and the
Spanish-English / English-Spanish
Occupational Safety and Health
Dictionary (30,000 words) at
Obtenga estos instructivos
bilingües y el
Diccionario Español-Inglés / InglésEspañol de Seguridad e Higiene en
el Trabajo (30,000 palabras) en
www.orosha.org
www.orosha.org
Please send comments to [email protected]
Favor de enviar comentarios a [email protected]
Nota: Este material educativo o cualquier otro material utilizado para adiestrar a patrones y empleados de los requisitos de
cumplimiento de los reglamentos de la OR-OSHA por conducto de la simplificación de los reglamentos, no se considerará
substituto de cualquiera de las previsiones de la Ley de Seguridad en el Trabajo de Oregon, o por cualquiera de las normas
dictaminadas por la OR-OSHA. Este material educativo fue producido por el Programa PESO de la OR-OSHA.
Note: This educational material or any other material used to inform employers and workers of compliance requirements of
OR-OSHA standards through simplification of the regulations should not be considered a substitute for any provisions of the
Oregon Safe Employment Act or for any standards issued by OR-OSHA. This educational material was produced by the
OR-OSHA PESO Program.
Excerpts from OR-OSHA Workshop - Safety Training and Your Hispanic Workforce
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Programa en Español de Seguridad e Higiene en el Trabajo de OR-OSHA
OR-OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Program in Spanish
TOPICS INCLUDE
TEMAS INCLUYEN
Accident Investigation
Cultures, Languages, and Safety
Excavations
Fall Protection
Hazard Communication
Hazard Identification
Hazardous Energy Control
Industrial Vehicles
Machine Safeguarding
Manual Material Handling
Occupational Health
Portable Ladders
Safety Committees
Scaffolds
Investigación de Accidentes
Culturas, Idiomas, y la Seguridad
Excavaciones
Protección Contra Caídas
Comunicación de Riesgo
Localización de Riesgos
Control de Energía Peligrosa
Vehículos Industriales
Resguardos de Máquinas
Manipulación Manual de Cargas
Higiene Laboral
Escaleras Portátiles
Comites de Seguridad
Andamios
LA LLAVE AL ACCESO
En cumplimiento con el Acta de Americanos Incapacitados (ADA), esta
publicación esta disponible en formatos alternos comunicándose con la
Sección de Relaciones Públicas de OR-OSHA, (503) 378-3272 (V/TTY).
In Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), this
publication is available in alternative formats by calling the
OR-OSHA Public Relations Section, (503) 378-3272 (V/TTY).
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