Workers who have limited reading and writing skills are often embarrassed to let others know about their limitations. And if they can’t understand written safety rules or procedures and don’t tell their supervisors, they’re endangering both themselves and others in the workplace.
So if workers are reluctant to speak up about their literacy issues, how can you tell if any of your workers are having such struggles?
According to ABC Life Literacy Canada, here are five signs that your workers may be struggling with literacy and other essential skills:
- Change initiatives often fail or are slow to be implemented.
- Workers are reluctant to participate in team meetings and avoid training sessions.
- Excellent workers continually turn down promotion opportunities.
- Staff make excuses, such as “I’ll read it later” or “I forgot my glasses,” when put in situations where reading or writing is required.
- Employee absenteeism is high.
If any—or all—of the above statements describe your workplace, you should consider taking steps to address any literacy issues your workers may be facing.
For example, learn how investing in a literacy program can improve workplace health and safety.
You can also use this checklist to develop a literacy plan for your workplace.
Make sure that your safety documents aren’t too complicated or written in dense, technical language, which makes it hard for workers and supervisors to understand or follow.
And learn more about the ties between literacy and safety.