Across Canada, the use of bilingual signs in the workplace is necessary to communicate important safety and company policies that everyone will understand. According to Canada’s constitution, English and French are recognized to be the state’s official languages. Implementing universal signs that cater to a multicultural workforce can improve productivity by reducing the occurrences of work-related injuries and accidents.
It’s a fact that you will encounter hazards in the workplace. Your responsibility as an employer is to make sure your workforce, especially if it is multicultural, is aware of immediate dangers and the precautions they need to take to avoid any accidents.
Imagine this, a French speaking factory worker comes to work in your facility and experiences an accident during the course of the day because most of the safety signs were in English or another language that he doesn’t normally speak. Your company can be held liable for the incident because you didn’t have safety signs that the French speaking employee could understand.
Now if you were using bilingual signs to communicate the different hazards present in the facility, the possibility of that worker having an accident will be greatly reduced. Bilingual safety signs also help companies in bilingual regions stay in compliance with state and federal safety regulations. The presence of universal signs in key areas of your facility can help reduce confusion among employees and the risk of serious and life threatening accidents.
Universal signs were developed to help promote safety practices regardless of the language, and it’s not only in the workplace where bilingual signs are used. In Canada, there are a number of places where you can see safety signs in two languages:
- Universal safety signs are used in Ontario’s provincial highways, as well as in the Greater Toronto area to promote safety on the road by providing important traffic safety information to both English and French speaking motorists.
- The Canadian constitution requires that all federal and government buildings in Canada should use signs with both the English and French languages.
However, other areas like Alberta follow certain guidelines when it comes to using bilingual signs. According to The Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation or AIT, traffic signs:
- Will use English as the main language.
- Can be bilingual as long as it is approved by the AIT.
- Can display bilingual messages if they are serving historical sites and national parks.
In times where companies and cities are no longer confined to one culture and language, the presence of bilingual signs becomes more important. They deliver their safety and warning messages to a greater audience to ensure everyone’s safety and well being.
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