An Evaluation of Barriers to Effective Communications and Learning for Information Related to Environment, Health and Safety
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Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) procedures and training are used by global industries to mitigate risks and are often provided in a lingua franca. This research, investigated strategies for overcoming language barriers associated with procedure performance, hazard comprehension, and training effectiveness. Written procedures were tested using SecondLife® to explore effects of native language on procedural performance and safety statement adherence. Additionally, non-linguistic (NAPO) and English language (ENG) versions of EHS training were compared for effectiveness with native English language participants (L1), non-native English language participants (L2), and non-English language participants (L0). First, 54 participants completed procedures under time pressure and were scored according to performance and hazard comprehension. Analysis showed differences between L1 & L2 performance (specifically L2 Females), although no meaningful language fluency or hazard comprehension differences were observed. Results suggest the lower performance of L2 was not due to English proficiency, but rather time pressure. Implications of lingua franca procedures are not fully understood particularly regarding gender. Second, 102 L1 & L2 US employees completed either the NAPO or ENG training and were assessed on their reaction to and comprehension of the training (sensory modality was also measured). Results show that ENG was more effective and preferred by both language groups. These results may be due to the workers’ English proficiency and the number of channels of communication provided by the training medium. Third, 78 L0 Brazilian and Chinese employees completed trainings and were assessed identically to the 2nd study. Results showed NAPO training was more effective and preferred by both groups likely because ENG L0 trainees had no channels for processing the information versus NAPO’s single channel of information. Interestingly, ENG Brazilians outperformed Chinese counterparts—possibly due to the commonalities of Romance languages (Portuguese) and English. Conversely, NAPO Chinese outperformed NAPO Brazilians, perhaps due to the logographic nature of the Chinese language. Though participants preferring kinesthetic learning had lower preference ratings than others, they did not prefer one training over another and their modality preference had no effect on performance. This research provides important implications regarding the use of single language procedures and training in multi-lingual workforces.
Johnson, William Dale (2019). An Evaluation of Barriers to Effective Communications and Learning for Information Related to Environment, Health and Safety. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from