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Safety training materials may be too technical for some construction workers: CPWR

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Silver Spring, MD — About one-third of construction worker training materials are written above an eighth-grade reading level – which goes against the recommendation of many communication experts – according to a recent report from the Center for Construction Research and Training, also known as CPWR.

After reviewing 103 safety training handouts, brochures and Safety Data Sheets, researchers found several of the materials contained technical language or other unfamiliar terminology.

To correct this issue, the researchers recommend written training material authors:

  • Focus on a single, main message.
  • Use one “call to action” for workers.
  • Summarize the main message at the beginning of the document.
  • Include informative subheads and bold print to reinforce key points.
  • Provide step-by-step instructions for recommended actions.

In addition, CPWR states employers should supplement SDSs – which can be hard to understand – with targeted, easier-to-read materials for workers.

The study was published online Aug. 26 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

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