The Impact of Language and Culture Diversity in Occupational Safety

Workplace Health Saf. 2016 Jan;64(1):24-7. doi: 10.1177/2165079915607872.


Occupational health nursing plays a critical part in improving the safety of foreign labor workers. The development and implementation of safety training programs do not always regularly take into account language barriers, low literacy levels, or cultural elements. This oversight can lead to more injuries and fatalities among this group. Despite established health and safety training programs, a significant number of non-native English speakers are injured or killed in preventable, occupation-related accidents. Introducing safety programs that use alternative teaching strategies such as pictograms, illustrations, and hands-on training opportunities will assist in addressing challenges for non-English laborers. Occupational health nursing has an opportunity to provide guidance on this subject and assist businesses in creating a safer and more productive work environment.

Keywords: diversity; health education; health literacy; immigrant; occupational health and safety programs; occupational injuries; workforce.

MeSH terms

  • Health Literacy*
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Occupational Health / education
  • Occupational Health / ethnology*
  • Safety Management*