13 Mar How To Create A Language-conscious Workplace

Syntax, phonetics and morphology are normally the first words that come to your mind when we talk about languages. But have you ever thought of language and its relevance to safety and communication in the workplace?

When we think about safety and health, we consider all the small details but we miss a critical concept that we do not normally give attention to. This involves the role of languages and how it promotes safety and communication in the workplace. Maya M. shares her insights on how language training programs save people through proper communication of visual languages.

Miscommunication in businesses can lead to lost revenue opportunities, but in other cases, it can be deadly. Fatal injuries are not limited to construction or manufacturing industries. These unfortunate events expand to hotels, hospital and other service industries as well. The following examples show that Medical Laboratory Technologists are unquestionably aware of the risks of the chemical substances they deal with in the laboratories. Below are hazard symbols that guide them on how to handle certain chemicals:


But have we ever thought of housekeepers who remove the garbage at the end of the day? How vulnerable they get due to risks and dangers only because they don’t know what the symbols mean? Organizations must invest in language training programs to equip the laborers with the necessary communication skills needed to avoid workplace injuries. Speaking the language of your employees, customers and partners is fundamental in doing sustainable business.

Language is not only limited to script, grammar or syntax. It also includes symbols, signs and logos. The universal example is the green light that tells us when it is safe to cross the road. Around the world, there are different types of the ‘Go’ signal. Sometimes, the word “WALK” is flashed instead of the green light. In other pedestrians, a picture of a walking man’s silhouette walking is shown.


Language is not always a set of letters. If employees do not understand the messages or meanings behind the signs or symbols in the workplace, accidents can happen. Language barriers are not limited to having different native languages between two people. It is generally the difficulties faced by speakers in a communication network.

Language training programs are highly recommended to ensure a safe workplace. Poor communication in any business affects safety, productivity, engagement and turnover, all of which, will cost the business a revenue loss eventually. Encourage your organizations or institutes to provide workshops and training that teache a wide range of languages and cross-cultural workplace etiquette. Languages can save lives!

For more information about language learning for the workplace, get in touch with us.

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