Improving the literacy and safety of our workforce

On the Wynyard Edge Alliance (WEA) in New Zealand we successfully introduced a range of initiatives to improve the literacy of our workforce and enhance communications across the culturally diverse project site.

The WEA developed the infrastructure for the 36th America's Cup event held in Auckland, which involved the construction of extensive marine works delivered by over 1,500 workers in a confined area and on a 24 hour roster.

Recognising the critical role communications would have in maintaining a safe workplace, and to deal with the diversity of languages and literacy levels across the project, the team implemented a range of initiatives, including:

  • Providing a 25 hour literacy and communication improvement program for site supervisors, in partnership with the Otago Polytechnic. The course was highly interactive and practical, with course content tailored to the project's specific safety communication needs.
  • Implementing a multilingual poster campaign combining emotive pictures and words in the languages most prevalent on the site - Samoan, Tongan, Tagalog, Te Reo Maori, and English. These posters were printed in A0 format and were placed in common areas including lunchrooms and meeting rooms. An example of one of the posters, focused on personal hydration, is shown below.

Both initiatives proved very successful in improving safety and the flow of communications across the workforce in general.

At the end of the literacy course for example, the participants were asked for their thoughts, with the following response reflecting the general sentiment of attendees:

“I now see the workplace and people in a whole new perspective. I'm always thinking about safety in the workplace. My communication skills have improved. I’m always asking people if they need help.”

An example of one of the posters

Safety Poster Multilingual