Erasmus+ project on track to promote health and safety of workers in noisy environments through use of sign language
With concerns reported that signs of hearing loss are on the rise amongst workers in noisy environments such as the oil and gas and service industries [links below] employers need to take steps to protect their workers’ hearing. Hearing-impaired workers and those migrant employees who have difficulty in communicating in the local language face additional challenges in the workplace, particularly when working safely around loud machines or reacting to an emergency.
With this in mind, Signed Safety at Work partners travelled to Rome in September 2019 to discuss progress and next stages of this Erasmus + funded project. The first phase of the project – the development of a Health and Safety vocabulary of 200 essential safety phrases and translation into International Sign Language – is complete.
Partners discussed progress on the current stage – the design and development of an online glossary of the phrases that will be available to be used by workers in noisy environments.
The online glossary will show a video of each sign vocabulary phrase and provide a written translation and a sign language translation in the following partner country languages:
- United Kingdom: English and British Sign Language
- Austria: German and Austrian Sign Language
- Italy: Italian and Italian Sign Language
The majority of the sign language versions of the vocabulary have been filmed and uploaded ready for testing with potential end-users at the end of the year.
At the start of 2020, work will begin on the development of an E-learning resource to enable health and safety managers to roll out the glossary and train their employees, and to allow workers to learn in the classroom, at home or on the move. Partners are conscious that to encourage take up by employers, it is important to have a simple, free and fun way of learning the sign vocabulary, which can be done in a range of locations in bite size chunks. Discussions in Rome centered on the best way to achieve this – for example which technical ‘learning management system’ would be the most suitable and how to ensure the content is visually stimulating and engaging for workers.
Local stakeholders in the field of health and safety attended a session of the Rome meeting to learn about the project and provided useful early feedback. In particular, relating to the difficulties they have experienced of getting learners to take a course if it is not certified for continuing professional development.