College - Author 1

College of Architecture and Environmental Design

Department - Author 1

Construction Management Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Construction Management



Primary Advisor/Subject Matter Expert (SME)

Stacy Kolegraff, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Construction Management Department


The United States construction industry employed approximately 10.8 million people in 2020. Of these 10.8 million, an estimated 3.3 million, or 30%, were Hispanic workers. On construction job sites, workers are exposed to numerous safety risks, including falls, struck-by incidents, and electrocution. Unfortunately, some Hispanics or workers with limited English language skills encounter language barriers which cause additional safety concerns. Language barriers impact their communication and comprehension abilities and, consequently, their safety. For example, workers who do not speak English do not benefit from safety training conducted purely in English; they also cannot read operation manuals for machinery and equipment that are written only in English. Communicating with supervisors who don’t speak Spanish about hazards on the job site also becomes difficult. As a result, Hispanics in construction suffer greater workplace injuries and deaths than other groups. This paper presents techniques currently being used by a construction company to reduce the negative safety impacts of language barriers. An interview was held with a company representative, discussing the main themes of this project: (1) language barrier issues encountered on job sites; (2) techniques implemented to combat language barriers; and (3) effectiveness of implemented techniques. Three techniques were presented, including (1) having translators in safety meetings; (2) conducting smaller meetings with groups in their native language; and (3) providing English language training. These techniques can be used as a guide for other companies to consider when developing inclusive safety plans.