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More and more companies are providing opportunities for foreign employees to join their team, thus broadening the cultural palette and knowledge base. However, fire safety and occupational health regulations must be taken into account in case of Hungarian speakers as well. Let’s check the main linguistic differences require special attention.

The regulations

Under current Hungarian regulations, it is the duty and responsibility of the employer to make everyone aware of and comply with HSE regulations. Therefore, if a non-Hungarian speaking employee arrives, he or she must be given the opportunity to learn about the company’s rules. There are several ways to do this. The current Hungarian regulations can be translated or we can make an extract from it. We have already seen a solution where instead of written material in a foreign language, an educational video was made for foreign workers. Here are some the key things to consider during the decision how to show the OHS regulations in foreign languages.

– According to the regulations of the authority, preparation of the policies in Hungarian is essential. Thus, if there are more foreign employees than Hungarians, the regulations must still be prepared in Hungarian.

– The employer must communicate the content of the regulations to foreign workers. However, it is not regulated how; so it is not necessarily a word-by-word translated, written material.

– If you have to prepare the HSE materials for several foreign languages, it is important to look for an easily sustainable solution for long term. Namely, if the Hungarian regulations change, it will have some effect on the foreign versions as well

(Please note, work and fire safety rules must be read not only by employees, but also by visitors or suppliers, so it may be worthwhile to make an English version anyhow.)

The education

HSE trainings are mandatory for all employee of course. Therefore, it is worth considering how many foreign languages are used at the company. In most of the cases English itself is sufficient. It is worth asking your HSE colleague or the company’s OHS supplier to organize an English speaking event in addition to the Hungarian fire and work safety training.

A long-term solution in this case can be creation of a HSE training material in English, which is available to everyone in an e-learning system, so the responsible HR colleagues can confidently manage even the English occupational health and fire safety trainings.

However, we also encountered cases where English materials were not sufficient. There are companies with workers from Eastern Europe or Asia, from several countries, without English language skills. In their case it is woth to consider creating a central educational material or video with multilingual subtitles. The training of a safety representative is not an exception. At a multinational company, even foreign employees can be elected as safety representatives. In this case they have to have the training in English.

The safety signs and labels

It is worth saying a special word about safety labels and pictograms. The „no smoking” pictograms are anyhow in 5 languages. In many places, pictograms on lifts restricting the useage in case of fire are also available in at least two languages; however, the list of English labels is over here. It can be very practical to provide English labels for the English speaking guests and suppliers in case of the emergency door opener and emergency stop button. It could be also a good idea to translate the evacuation plan as well.

First aid providers

Qualified first aid providers can also be selected from non-Hungarian speaking colleagues. In this case, the HSE colleague or the health and safety partner must also organize a first aid course in English. However, it is important to keep in mind when choosing a first aid provider that according to the standard process, it is also the task of the first aid provider to call 112 when it’s necessary. However, proactive communication with ambulances requires at least intermediate knowledge of the Hungarian language.

If you are interested and would like to receive fire and safety training in English, training for safety representatives in a foreign language or translated work and fire safety regulations, feel free to contact the Safety Centrum team.