According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 5 million workplace injuries happen annually in the United States alone. Although I can only wonder how many workplace injuries happen worldwide, there is something I know for sure: fostering a culture of safety in the workplace plays a significant role in preventing these injuries and illnesses and, as teachers or trainers, we have the unique opportunity to use health and safety teaching resources to equip our students with the tools they need to navigate the workplace safely in the future.
With that in mind, in this blog post, I will gather a set of affordable teacher-friendly resources that will not only help you enhance your students’ understanding of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), but also foster a culture of safety in the workplace.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as its name suggests, is a collection of protective gear designed to shield us from various workplace hazards.
To help your students understand the importance of personal protective equipment, ask them to imagine they are working on a construction site and a sharp object hits their eye. In that split second, their safety glasses become their guardian angel, protecting their vision from harm. Then ask them to picture themselves working in a chemical lab, surrounded by potential spills. Guide them to the idea that their protective gloves, boots, and lab coat become trusty companions, preventing harmful chemicals from making contact with their skin.
Now, let me share a valuable tool for hands-on learning – the Personal Protective Equipment worksheet. This resource not only familiarizes students with different types of PPE but also encourages critical thinking about when to use them.
Introducing occupational PPE terms like gloves, goggles, safety shoes, helmets, lifejackets and respirators not only enhances their understanding of workplace safety but also broadens their vocabulary and will help them realize that PPE is essential in any line of work. Our Personal Protective Equipment worksheet provides an engaging way to introduce these terms to your students. With hands-on vocabulary exercises and visual aids, your students can learn the meaning of PPE equipment and even practice identifying the correct PPE for specific hazards. Through simple exercises, students not only learn vocabulary but also understand the practical applications of PPE, preparing them for a more extensive approach ion this topic.
While our worksheet on PPE provides a great overview, the world of workplace safety extends far beyond a vocabulary lesson on safety gear. Being able to identify and describe work-related injuries and symptoms, safety signs, and the collective impact of misconduct at work also play a crucial role in safeguarding our well-being in the workplace.
If you need to address the topic of workplace safety deeper, our printable Safety at work worksheet offers additional resources, including discussing safety issues in a real professional setting and providing students with practical language skills they can apply in any job setting.
Consider the scenario of stepping into a new work environment, where comprehending the intricacies of safety gear is just as challenging as mastering the English language. The integral role of workplace health and safety is especially relevant for educators and trainers collaborating with migrant workers that come from countries where different safety measures apply, so we have included a video to promote a discussion on this topic. Equipping our students with a holistic understanding of the real-world challenges they may encounter in English-speaking workplaces is crucial.
I will be posting more teaching resources on this topic soon, but for now, I leave you with a question: What teaching experiences do you have on this topic? Have you witnessed the impact of equipping learners with the language skills to navigate the intricacies of workplace safety? Share your stories, and let’s continue fostering a safer, more linguistically empowered workforce together.