See It, Sign It, Be Safe – online conference and workshop held by UK partners

A virtual conference to showcase the free workplace resources developed by the SSaW project was hosted by the UK partners (University of Wolverhampton, Bellyfeel Media and Searchlighter Services) on 23 March 2021.  Attendees were welcomed by the Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Claire Darke.

The conference discussed some of the issues of workplace communication that the SSaW project was designed to address, how the e-Learning might be applied in the workplace, and the potential benefits.

At the centre of the conference was the opportunity to try out the e-Learning materials in a workshop session run by Louis Neethling, who specialises in sign-language training.  The audience was taken through the First Aid topic – one of the 14 modules available on the SSaW project website – that teaches workers how to sign key safety phrases in International Sign.  The session was held in British Sign Language with live English voiceover, but the audience learned that the e-Learning modules will also shortly be available online in German and Italian.

The conference also launched the ‘Guidelines for Inclusion and Diversity in Occupational Health & Safety’ – a comprehensive document detailing the results of research carried out in the UK, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy and Austria.  The ‘Guidelines’ are an invaluable source of information for Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) policymakers, employers seeking an upgrade to their OHS practice, Human Resources managers, and those responsible for OHS in the workplace.

Highlights of the conference included a fascinating glimpse into the considerations and processes that need to be taken into account when translating a list of safety phrases into International Sign in a way that makes them accessible to novice signers. Immediately prior to that there was an amusing but insightful presentation about how ‘clear communication facilitates diversity’ and how the SSaW project can help with this. Also, some ground-breaking ideas about how the project might provide new approaches to OHS in the Czech Republic were offered by one of the project Partners who is a specialist in the field.

Particularly inspiring for the partners involved in developing the project was the positive independent evaluation of the outputs by a presenter who works in the field of H&S. This presentation identified suggestions as to the possible applications in the workplace, as well as indicating the general benefits to employers of introducing signed-safety training. For Health and Safety professionals, she pointed out the potential for their career progression as the glossary opened-up the development of skills and opportunities that are transferable.

There will be more opportunities for stakeholders to find out about the SSaW project with virtual conferences planned in Spain, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic.  Details will be published on the website soon.

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