Construction Safety Expert Witness On Communication

In Speaking English is Key to Safety construction safety expert witness Paul Gogulski, BSCE, PE, writes:

As an expert witness specializing in construction accidents, my observations include a very sensitive subject: the increased risk of accidents when a substantial number of workers on a site cannot speak the English language. Every general contractor knows the truth but few dare to openly express it: the more non-English speaking workers employed on site, the greater the risk of errors and accidents. Even when a requirement for English-speaking foremen is included in the contract, this in itself is not enough to prevent accidents attributable to the hazards created by the barriers imposed by inadequate communication…

Effective communication is a key ingredient of every construction project and is particularly vital in regard to safety issues. Practically speaking, the current policy of promoting bilingual languages as a social-engineering enterprise across a broad spectrum of the nation has a negative impact on the frequency of accidents in the construction industry. The many recent deaths in Las Vegas construction is a grim demonstration of this fact.

Courtesy of McGraw-Hill.