Project SSaW continues to advance despite difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Partners have taken priceless steps forward in the development of original material and reaching new agreements.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lives in all areas and levels, and projects funded by the European Union are no exception.

SSaW is a project with seven partners based in five different countries (United Kingdom, Austria, Italy, Spain and Czech Republic) with complementary skills, activities and responsibilities. The complementarity is a significant strength in this kind of European project, but to take advantage of it, it is crucial to have good communication between project partners.

Before COVID-19, different transnational meetings took place in Wolverhampton, Yecla and Rome in order for the full range of Partners to discuss the development of the project face-to-face. Due to the travel restrictions that have been implemented in many European countries, the SSaW project partners decided to replace the meetings planned to take place in Klagenfurt and Prague with two online meetings, adapting agendas to the online environment.

In light of the adaptation, contact between the partners has been strengthened through more frequent meetings focused on a broad range of topics and developments. While COVID-19 is making some things more difficult, such as the development of sign-language videos and the implementation of a pilot to study the Signed Safety e-learning course, the project is still achieving all the expected results. This is primarily due to a cohesive group of participants and their commitment to hard work.

At the last online meeting, it was clear that the Signed Safety Glossary (freely available on the website http://www.signedsafety.eu/glossary-page) is a significant resource, with 200 warning signs that have been related to phrases for use in potentially dangerous situations that could occur in the workplace.

Available in International Sign, British Sign Language (BSL), Austrian Sign Language (ÖGS) and Italian Sign Language (LIS), it can also be used as an index when searching for the sign-language videos. Every partner was deeply satisfied with the final result and is encouraging different stakeholders to make effective use of the resource.

During this latest meeting, the progress in the development of Signed Safety e-learning course was analysed. The course enables staff at every level to learn how to act safely and improve communication with deaf and hearing-impaired workers and colleagues in different workplace situations, from videos in international sign.

It was agreed to do a pilot with end-users in the last part of 2020 and the beginning of 2021. With these results, the project will produce and release a final version that will be available at www.signedsafety.eu

Partners are proud about the project’s adaptations and the common approach to working that has developed and grown despite the delays brought by the COVID-19 pandemic as there is increasing promise that the final results will have significant impact on approaches to health and safety in the workplace.

About the author