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All Signs Point to Yes: Literacy’s Impact on Workplace Health and Safety

The Conference Board of Canada, 32 pages, September 10, 2008
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Low literacy skills can threaten health and safety in the workplace. Investing in workplace literacy programs provides a way for employers to improve health and safety records while boosting productivity.

Document Highlights

A review of current literature indicates a link between literacy skills and health and safety in the workplace. Workers who lack adequate literacy skills are unable to read and understand health and safety regulations, and may have difficulty accessing information about safety rights. One actionable solution for organizations seeking to improve their safety records is investment in employee literacy programs. The payoff is reduced employee accidents, injuries, and absenteeism, resulting in lower workers’ compensation board premiums, claims, and fines. In addition, organizations benefit from higher productivity and better organizational performance overall through reduced work stoppages and slowdowns. The Conference Board will build on the results of the literature review by exploring sectoral experiences relating to workplace safety and literacy skills development programs in more detail. Best practices in workplace literacy programs that affect health and safety will be detailed in stand-alone case study reports.