OSHA standards are mandatory for any business in the USA and failure to comply with them can be quite costly. The rules imposed by the government are to secure the safety and wellbeing of people at work and are much more than simple common sense. 

For a large company with offices in other countries, it is vital that the translation of their documentation does not jeopardize their OSHA compliance. So, it is necessary to work with a reliable and experienced language service provider (LSP) that has expertise in various areas including technical translation and e-learning localization to ensure OSHA-compliant content and practices regardless of the language.  

What is OSHA compliance and who needs it? 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the part of the federal Department of Labor that regulates health and safety at the workplace. The standards OSHA establishes try to guarantee that each employer provides a safe workplace for their employees. There is no business that is regulation-free and many companies need to observe several OSHA standards.

It is paramount for any business to identify the OSHA standards that apply to it and to implement them in order to avoid any sanctions. You can check the complete list of standards at the OSHA.gov website. Once you are aware of the standards that you need to be compliant with, it is necessary to establish the relevant procedures and policies and implement training programs for your employees.  

Employee training and its proper translation are essential for OSHA compliance 

An essential part of OSHA compliance is the effective employee training where the modules are properly localized for the target employees in order to avoid losing the meaning of the course in translation. In order for all of the employees to follow the same instructions and to enjoy the same level of safety at the workplace, it is necessary to have the standards stipulated by OSHA implemented in policies that are properly applied and understood by all.  

Translating those requirements and taking into account the specifications of each location is of paramount importance. It is essential to trust a professional translating agency with such a task in order to get the meaning and relevance across different cultures and respective local requirements.  

In many cases, it is also a matter of choosing the correct approach to this type of corporate training that will guarantee success. Microlearning and gamification are one of the best approaches and are quite suitable for teaching OSHA-related policies and standards by presenting hazards and real-life scenarios in a safe environment that allows the employees to interact better with the material.  

How to guarantee accurate translation of OSHA compliance documentation? 

Another aspect of OSHA compliance concerns equipment manufacturers who need to make sure that the instructions and manuals that accompany their product properly reflect the health and safety polices at the workplace.  

The documentation that accompanies equipment is quite often created by experienced technical writers who try to present the information in a simple and clear way so that there is no ambiguity. When translating such texts, technical translators follow the same approach – they aim for accuracy, consistency, and clarity of the translated text.

The best way to provide accurate translation of the documentation that guarantees OSHA compliance is by hiring an experienced LSP to do the job. There are several factors that can guide you in selecting the best language service provider for your translation project. Some of the most important ones include: 

  • Experience in your industry. Many translation agencies specialize in one or several industries and are able to provide high-quality translation since their translators are not only native speakers of the language you need but also subject-matter experts in the field. When it comes to OSHA compliance, make sure to select an agency that has particular experience in localizing such type of content.  
  • Price/quality/turnaround time ratio. It is essential to find a translation partner that can provide translations at the quality you need, for the cost you can afford and within the timeframe you have. Note that in most of the cases a higher price means better quality and appropriate time for completion of the translation task.  
  • Wide range of supported languages and services. Let’s say that you are a restaurant equipment manufacturer who wants to grow their business globally. Working even with a single chain of restaurants may take you to a great number of locations and you need to translate all of your documentation accordingly. Choosing an LSP that supports a great number of languages will facilitate your work. You will have a trusted partner that is already familiar with your particular equipment specifications and can easily translate and localize any content in the new language you need. Offering additional services, means that you can trust the same company not only for your document translation but also in case you need website translation or any other language-related service.  

Once you have selected the right LSP for your OSHA-related translations, it is necessary to ensure that your documents contain all the required safety signs, color codes set by OSHA, and hazard information, just to name a few. The job of the translator is to ensure that the right message of these elements is not lost in translation by localizing the content. You can relax that there will be no confusion to employees from a different locale as to what is the meaning of a given color code or sign and they will be able to follow safety instructions with no difficulties.

OSHA compliance is important for any business regardless of its size and you need to make sure that you do not compromise it involuntarily. So, be careful when it comes to the translation of OSHA-related documentation and work only with trusted LSPs.

If you are looking for assistance with translating your OSHA-related or technical documentation, you can find a reliable partner in ICD as we have significant knowledge and experience in the field of providing quality translation to a great number of industries in any language you need.  

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