Health and safety is everyone’s language

WorkSafe is ensuring safety is a common language for all Victorians following the launch of its latest campaign to assist workers from culturally diverse backgrounds.
News article published

Thursday 25 Mar 2021

The $970,000 ‘Workplace Safety is our Common Language’ campaign speaks directly to workers in 19 different languages to help everyone understand their health and safety rights, and equip them with the knowledge and confidence to raise questions or concerns.

This includes translated advice for workers, resources for employers, and videos featuring real workers who share their experiences in Victorian workplaces.

Talking about workplace safety and raising concerns can be hard when working with close friends or family and it can be even harder when co-workers speak a different language.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said employers had to ensure workers from culturally diverse backgrounds understood their health and safety rights.

"We know people who speak multiple languages and are learning English face unique risks compared to their co-workers, but that is no excuse for failing to ensure their health and safety," Ms Nielsen said.

"WorkSafe is providing resources in additional languages to help all workers and employers understand their rights and responsibilities and to ensure every worker returns home safe at the end of the day."

WorkSafe now has health and safety information available in nine new languages including Bahasa Indonesian, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Malay, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, and Urdu.

This is in addition to the information already available in Arabic, Burmese, Cantonese, Dari, Dinka, Khmer, Korean, Mandarin and Vietnamese.

The campaign launched on Sunday, 21 March across multicultural print, radio and digital media outlets.

As part of the campaign, WorkSafe also hosted an online panel event for community leaders, business owners and workers from multicultural communities on 24 March.

The panel featured prominent community and business representatives, including Afro-Australian Student Organisation founder Monica Forson and former Victoria Street Business Association President Meca Ho, who discussed health and safety in multicultural workplaces and a path towards normalising conversations about safety.

More than 280 Victorians contacted WorkSafe’s interpreter service for health and safety advice so far this financial year.

Workers wanting to know more about their health and safety rights can call TIS National on 131 450 to reach WorkSafe with an interpreter, between 7.30am and 6.30pm Monday to Friday.

For more information on health and safety in any of the 19 languages, visit www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/languages.