Illiterates in the Workplace and Industrial Accidents

Posted by on March 12, 2013 in blog | 0 comments

One of the many types of problems that English functional illiterates must frequently endure is industrial accidents in the workplace. Working with toxic chemicals can be a frightening job for anyone. It is especially so for someone who cannot read the package labels or the signs on the walls, such as a warning that a face mask must be worn in a certain area because of dangerous fumes. The same is true regarding warnings about machinery (such as machines that come on automatically at intermittent times) or other dangers.

Recent information comparing industrial accidents in the U.S. with those in other nations shows that workers in the U.S. are more likely to be killed on the job than in other major industrial nations. One out of eleven workers in the U.S. will be killed or seriously injured at work. The latest readily available information shows that U.S. workers are thirty-six times more likely to be killed on the job than in Sweden. The situation may have improved in the last few years, and there are many reasons why this may be true, but the inability to read warning signs and warning labels is certainly a contributing factor in the U.S. — but much less in Sweden where there are very few workers who cannot read.

English functional illiteracy causes many types of problems in addition to industrial accidents, of course — problems we would consider a crisis if we had to endure them. Fortunately, there is a simple-to-implement, proven solution to our very real literacy crisis. You owe it to yourself and to hundreds of millions of English functional illiterates to take a few minutes to help end the serious problem of functional illiteracy in English.
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