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Tips for learning a second language for construction workers

If you don't have good English skills and you work on some Pennsylvania construction sites, you may find that it could be a safety hazard.Construction relies on communication. There are so many people usually involved in any project and it's important that each job is done accurately and correctly in order to finish the task on budget and on time. If there is a language barrier, it can slow down the process.

In many cases, construction workers, supervisors and others may need to learn a second language to help facilitate communication. Besides helping to improve safety, the better the communication is among everyone involved, the better the final product will be. It will also likely be finished faster. Here are some tips to help when learning a second language.

-- Learn how to use your hands to communicate effectively. Hand gestures are often universal in their meaning.

-- Learn the important words first. You probably won't be able to communicate in your second language as well as your first. There is no problem with that. However, you also can't get frustrated when you're trying to learn. Learn the basics first and make sure you know those words well. If you can't figure out how to tell someone, "Get the drill and make three holes here," then try to think of an easier way to say it, such as "Get the tool that makes holes in this." Then point to where you want the holes.

-- Learning a second language by immersion is one of the fastest ways to learn. You can pick up a lot of words simply by listening to others who speak the language. Many trade organizations have vocabulary books that are full of construction-specific words.

While learning a second language might not be as easy as you would like, it can help increase safety on a job site. If you suffer an injury on a job site, you are likely to be covered by workers' compensation. An attorney can help you file a claim for benefits.

Source:, "4 Tips for Learning a Second Language in Construction," Dustin Chapman, accessed June 17, 2016

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