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Literacy and the Level of Understanding of the Practice of Operational Health and Safety Hazards

Literacy and the Level of Understanding of the Practice of Operational Health and Safety Hazards

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Literacy, Skills, OSHA
Literacy, Skills, OSHA

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Occupational Hazards and Welfare Measures – A Labor Perspective Literacy and the Level of Understanding of the Practice of Operational

Health and Safety Hazards *Dr. K H Anilkumar, **DR. Kamini Dhruva, ***Prof. Nila Chotai Acharya Bangalore B School (ABBS), Bangalore. Abstract The adult literacy has an impact on the productivity of industry and the language used for OSHA training, has influenced on the level of understanding on the best practices of health and safety. The training, which is done predominantly in English, also has to be communicated in local language for better understanding. The functional level of literacy to read, write and speak is a must for all the employees, both in English and in the local language. The advancement in technology has brought a shift in the level of literacy on a continuum basis, which is a challenge to the industry. As we are seeing an increased trend from marginal literacy to functional literacy level, we have to redefine the literacy level periodically. Key Words: Literacy, Skills, OSHA Introduction The literacy in the broadest sense is the ability to read, write, compute, solve problems, and communicate. Marginally literate people read at the middle school levels. Functionally literate people read at the high school level or above. However, technological developments are having the effect of shifting these levels up the continuum. As a result, what constitutes functional or marginal literacy now will have to be redefined periodically. Literacy in India is key for socio-economic progress, and the Indian literacy rate grew to 74.04% in 2011 from 12% at the end of British rule in 1947. Although this was a greater than six-fold improvement, the level is well below the world average literacy rate of 84% and of all nations, India currently has the largest illiterate population. Despite government programs, India's literacy rate increased only "sluggishly," and a 1990 study estimated that it would take until 2060 for India to achieve universal literacy at then-current rate of progress. The 2011 census, however, indicated a 2001–2011 decadal literacy growth of 9.2%, which is the slower than the growth seen during the previous decade. There is a wide gender disparity in the literacy rate in India: effective literacy rates (age 7 and above) in 2011 were 82.14% for men and 65.46% for women. The census provided a positive indication that growth in female literacy rates (11.8%) was substantially faster than in male literacy rates (6.9%) in the 2001–2011 decadal period, which means the gender gap appears to be narrowing. The Indian Constitution has recognized the significance of education for social transformation. It is a document committed to social justice. The Preamble affirms a determination to secure liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship and equality of status and opportunity and to promote amongst the people a feeling of fraternity, ensuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of the nation. Literacy forms the cornerstone for making the provision of equality of opportunity a 1 Archers & Elevators Publishing House – www.aeph.in

Difficulty in filling high skill jobs. logical. 9. The Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (Hindi for Total Literacy Campaign) was launched in 2001 to ensure that all children in the 6 –14-year agegroup attend school and complete eight years of schooling by 2010. There are several reasons why this number has been obscured in the past and why there is now a growing awareness of the adult literacy level for meeting the expectations at functional level. It imparts functional literacy to non-literates in the age group of 15–35 years. Basic skill level increased due to technological advancement. Cost and contribution accountability. and now includes speaking. 12. 6.in . The Total Literacy Campaign is the principal strategy of the NLM for eradication of illiteracy.aeph. For example. aimed at attaining a literacy rate of 75 per cent by 2007. employers must now evaluate the employee’s performance in operating specific types of trucks under specific work conditions. The old views no longer apply Greater impact of literacy on productivity.Occupational Hazards and Welfare Measures – A Labor Perspective reality. 3.the fact that the literacy on the job increases the likelihood of fewer accidents and concern to safety and health of their professionals. which cannot be amended. The reasons we are now becoming more aware of the adult literacy due to: 1. launched in 1988. as a result. In addition. Higher levels of wastage. 4. Role of Government in Literacy Development The National Literacy Mission. Therefore. etc. The standard now requires employers to develop a training program specifically geared toward the type of truck to be driven and the conditions in which it will be driven. Lower levels of productivity and. Originally. Global economic competition Changing demographic factors Scope of literacy level goes beyond just reading and writing. listening. 7. OSHA’s Forklift Standard: An Example of Prescriptive Training Requirements. Written notification of safety and health hazards and written instruction for minimizing those hazards are of little use. The employer is responsible for implementing the required training and for ensuring that only employees who have completed the necessary training be allowed to operate the type of industrial truck in question under the conditions present. A literate employee would not be able to read or understand a material safety data sheet explaining the safe handling procedures for a fork lift. 2. 11. a lower level of competitiveness. 2 Archers & Elevators Publishing House – www. if the workforce or any part of it is an illiterate. 5. The objective specified in the Preamble contains the basic structure of the Constitution. Greater potential for safety and health problems in the workplace 8. Greater number of dissatisfied employees in the workplace. The number of literate adults in local language is high and the literates in English are increasing. 10. the Forklift Standard required only that industrial truck operators be trained and that employers develop methods for training them. and the employer must certify that the required training has taken place. and the preamble may be invoked to determine the ambit of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy.

Educomp is currently growing at a great pace. The overwhelming success of the Indian software industry has also helped India to build a strong economy. Several nongovernmental organisations such as ITC. no cost. ABB. may not be able to dismantle barriers built over centuries. IT has brought a major growth in the Indian education industry. NIIT Limited is the largest training company in India. however well intentioned.aeph. in some cases. where social and economic barriers play an important role in keeping the lowest strata of society illiterate. hence the need for computer literacy training. High-tech Company’s takes an aggressive approach in defining functional literacy. Few employees in a modern industrial firm can function without using a computer on the job. Everonn Systems is into Vitals business. others provide the remediation themselves. Role of Industries in Literacy Development Indian industry’s has found it necessary to develop the li teracy levels by providing remedial education for employees in the workplace. and others form partnerships with community colleges or vocational schools. The approach used by some technology companies to provide literacy training can be one of the least expensive. WIPRO. Educomp offers end-to-end solutions to government as well as private schools. verbal and written communication. Some companies contract with private training firms. which is becoming a widely used quality control method in automated manufacturing settings.in . Mahindra & Mahindra. and many more companies also define literacy more stringently than has been typical in the past. Government programmes alone. GMR.Occupational Hazards and Welfare Measures – A Labor Perspective The bulk of Indian illiterates live in the country's rural areas. However. employees must have these skills to function in this high-tech company. WIPRO has its own University as Azim Premji University and provides literacy program through their Azim Premji foundation. It is India's one of the fastest growing education solutions company. Physics skills have not traditionally been viewed as required for functional literacy. Such programs involve all employees in identifying and correcting problems that negatively affect quality or do not add value to the 3 Archers & Elevators Publishing House – www. Major social reformation efforts are sometimes required to bring about a change in the rural scenario. The need for these skills is technology driven. Problem-solving skills are becoming critical as companies implement quality management (QM) programs. Statistics is needed in order to use statistical process control (SPC). TATA. To function effectively at such companies. and Lions Club have worked to improve the literacy rate in India. and basic physics of their employees. They work with public community colleges or vocational schools to provide literacy training at little or. According to this study. And for all these. technology companies require math. The skills taught in Seimens. employees must be skilled in functional literacy. etc are indicative of the trend towards higher levels of knowledge. Safety and health professionals should establish a working relationship with representatives of local community colleges and vocational schools. It has also given India the much needed visibility and recognition in the global market. A study done by US based -―The National Center for Education Statistics‖ has found industry-based adult literacy training programs in several industrial firms. the IT training industry played a major role Toyota Kirloskar. Rotary Club.

and writing is the better approach with limited-Englishspeaking audiences. Set up demonstrations that replicate the actual situation in question and let employees do what they are supposed to do on the job rather than just watching a video/DVD of someone else doing it. According to Halcarz. OSHA and other governmental agencies are becoming more sensitive to the issue of literacy.in . the best way to overcome language. Language as a Training issue To enjoy the gains that come with a safe and healthy workplace. and literacy barriers is to provide safety training programs that offer the following attributes:  Bilingual training materials that address cultural issues. Several of these recommendations have relevance for safety and health professionals:     The definitions should be driven by the needs of the company. In addition to increasing the likelihood of accidents.Occupational Hazards and Welfare Measures – A Labor Perspective company’s products. don’t u se training methods that rely heavily on understanding the language. Safety and Health Professionals in Literacy Training Kutner. companies should establish programs to raise the skills of existing employees rather than laying them off and hiring new employees. et al. lectures. industry associations and various other agencies has increased their efforts to deal with the problem by assessing literacy levels. Whenever possible. This is the rationale for including problem-solving skills in the definition of functional literacy.aeph. Whenever possible. show them. In other words.40 Training Methods Traditional training methods—videos/DVDs. The Labour departments. reading. 4 Archers & Elevators Publishing House – www. and encourage the development of state-level policies that promote workforce literacy. organizations that have employees who either speak only limited English or for whom English is a second language must take steps to accommodate their special needs in terms of both training and cultural perspectives. made recommendations to assist in the planning and implementation of such programs.. handouts. There is little question that a language barrier can magnify the potential for accidents and injuries in the workplace. companies should collaborate with educational institutions or education professionals in providing literacy training. and other classroom-oriented methods—will not work well with employees who do not speak English as their principal language. culture. Instead of telling employees how to work safely. As the situation evolves. however. Companies should establish an environment in which employees feel comfortable having their literacy skills assessed and in seeking help to raise those skills. MSME’s. Hands-on training that requires more doing and less listening. the literacy levels of the workforce will also have to increase. As industrial companies continue to enhance their technological capabilities and safety and health concerns increase correspondingly. language problems can also result in lower productivity and higher turnover. when working with a diverse group of employees in which language might be a barrier.

and online training. Conclusion OSHA standards are becoming more prescriptive concerning training requirements. a person who grew up in the South may not know about working in north. OSHA also promotes safety and health training by providing grants. whereas an employee from another culture might consider filing a report as being a troublemaker or as a sign of weakness. The OSHA Act established a legal foundation for safety and health training. An employee’s attitude toward reporting an injury can have cultural implications.in . for example. and writing training-oriented regulations.Occupational Hazards and Welfare Measures – A Labor Perspective   Training materials that recognize the dignity of all employees regardless of their background. An effective way to identify the various cultural barriers that might have a negative effect on an employee’s ability to fully grasp the training provided is to arrange facilitated brainstorming sessions. Employers who hire workers with limited English-speaking capabilities should use less classroom instruction and more hands-on activities when providing safety training. openly. In these sessions. conference. Consequently. Immigrants. might be afraid to report an injury for fear of being reported to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. publishing training requirements. simulation. especially one who speaks the principal language of the employees in question. For example. safety and health professionals need to ensure that manager’s have had the training they need to be positive participants in the process. For example. even people who speak the same language and come from the same country can have cultural differences. This is a cultural issue. Training materials that minimize literacy requirements. videotapes/DVDs. an employee from one culture might be quick to report an injury. and without attribution any concerns they might have about the training they need and any barriers that might inhibit their progress in completing the training. a third-party facilitator helps employees discuss freely. Managers play a key role in the maintenance of a safe and healthy workplace. A third-party facilitator. and many of them are. Cultural Issues We tend to think of cultural issues in terms of language and national origin.aeph. an individual who grew up in a cold climate might not understand the heat-related problems of working in the subtropics. The rationale for safety and health training is that workers who know how to do their jobs properly are less likely to have accidents. Widely used presentation methods include lecture –discussion. is more likely to bring out employee concerns than their supervisor or manager. However. and it should be considered when developing safety training programs. In addition to producing and distributing training materials. 5 Archers & Elevators Publishing House – www. Therefore. demonstration. programmed instruction. Conversely. due to cultural variations. it is critical that people be given plenty of opportunities to apply what they are learning. People learn by doing.

org/wiki/Literacy in India 6 Archers & Elevators Publishing House – www. Ibid.com/article 5. 4. References 1. wikipedia.Occupational Hazards and Welfare Measures – A Labor Perspective One of the most important aspects of a safety program is the orientation of new employees.in . 3. & Managers.‖ Safety & Health. KM. Magon. Fisher R. Wave of the Future. Occupational Safety Health for Technologists.indiastat. 2.aeph. It should consist of a general orientation. Ibid. job-specific procedures. David L Goetsch. Prentice Hall. and follow-up. ―Interactive Training.‖ Safety & Health. www. ―Videos Add New Dimension to Safety Programs. Engineers.

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