Single Language Workplaces Going the Way of Drive-in Movie Theatres, according to Survey

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Facilities where only one language is spoken are becoming a thing of the past – a trend which brings with it big new challenges for OSHA safety training.

Safety professionals report that more and more languages are being spoken in their workplaces and that worksites where only one language is spoken are now a distinct minority. The survey from, the website that makes safety training and compliance easier, highlights the difficulty that today’s safety managers have in training their multicultural workforces.

The Business & Legal Reports, Inc. (BLR), survey asked: “How many languages are spoken among your company’s employees?”

Fully 3 of every 4 of the 493 respondents reported that at least two languages were spoken at their facility. Thirty-eight percent of respondents reported 3 to 6 languages, 28 percent reported 2 languages, 6 percent reported 7 to 10, and 4 percent reported more than 10. Only 24 percent reported that theirs was a one-language workforce.

“This poll is yet more evidence of the continued diversification of the American workforce,” commented Steve Quilliam, managing editor of “That trend is a big challenge for employers, because their obligation to ensure that employees understand safety and health training and follow OSHA safety and health requirements doesn’t change – no matter how many languages are spoken in the facility.”

To help employers address multiple language worksites, now has a Spanish Resources Center at The Center includes, in Spanish, more than 100 training handouts and 69 quizzes on multiple OSHA topics.

Some typical training topics in the Resources Center include Spanish handouts and quizzes on confined spaces, defensive driving, electrical safety, and eye protection.

The challenge: finding safety meetings for Hispanic workers

OSHA itself has acknowledged this challenge, recently announcing a cooperative alliance with officials from Mexico and specialists from Georgia Tech aimed at improving safety among Hispanic workers.

To help employers get their training started, BLR has made available a sample hazard communication training meeting in English and Spanish, similar to those available at To download this free sample, go to

About BLR

Old Saybrook, Conn.-based BLR produces plain-English compliance and training resources for safety, environmental, HR, and compensation managers. For a free catalog, call 800-727-5257 or visit


Managing Editor

Steve Quilliam

860-510-0100 x 2148


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John Brady
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