To gain attention, B_R_E_A_K the pattern.

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Two teachers start their respective 8 am classes.

Both classes have talkative students.


Teacher Uno raises his voice, demanding the unruly students quiet down.


Teacher Dos quietly opens a desk drawer.

A cowbell is removed.

After a pause, she clangs a few laps around the bell.


Which is more successful?


In the classroom, the cowbell wins.

The cowbell is an auditory interrupt.

The cowbell interrupts the chorus of voices instead of adding to it.

The chatter pattern is broken by the cowbell.



Along with cowbells and 24 mph signage, attention is captured by breaking a pattern.

The human brain is incredibly adapt at ignoring consistent messaging.


Are any of your daily messages consistent?

Are they easily ignored?


Pattern recognition (and subsequent disregard) is the reason most jobsite injuries occur doing routine tasks.

The work is repetitive and routine.

Workers become numb to the risks.


The result?

Injuries while doing the most common tasks.


One pattern easily broken is your lack of comunicación with Hispanic construction workers. Due to language barriers (perceived or real), you or someone like you walks by Hispanic construction workers everyday without the slightest acknowledgment.


No wave.

No head nod.

Certainly no verbal exchanges.



100% lack of acknowledgment.

As if they were human pieces of equipment.

Like a ladder or a wheelbarrow.


Want to manage your job better?

Want to lead more effectively?


Break the pattern of Hispanic disregard by saying this one word to Spanish-speaking construction workers… and then keep walking.


Don’t pause.

Just keep walking.

BREAK the pattern.








This single word will break two patterns – your pattern of non-comunicación and the workers’ pattern of completing routine, but potentially dangerous tasks.






Bradley Hartmann is founder and El Presidente at Red Angle (, a training and consulting firm bridging the English-Spanish language gap in the construction industry.

Categories: Construction Spanish

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