Overcoming communication barriers at Kito
Ryo Fukasawa, who is in charge of product assembly at Kito’s Yamanashi Main Plant, was awarded, ‘Recognising excellent effort by a disabled worker, fiscal year 2020’ by the Japan Organisation for Employment of the Elderly, Persons with Disabilities and Job Seekers.
Fukasawa said, “For people with hearing loss, communication barriers are high. Our team uses sign language, the UDTalk voice-to-text app, boogie boards, Silwatches and other tools to ensure that hearing-impaired workers get the information they need at the same time as their co-workers. This has been vitally important to my effectiveness on the job, so the award really has more to do with my advantages as a Kito employee than my personal strengths.”
He continued, “Kito culture values teamwork, and I’ve been part of that in promoting initiatives to make sure our working environments are friendly for disabled employees. For example, in cooperation with my co-workers I teach sign language and promote employee awareness about it. As a result, our team members have begun to use sign language at morning meetings and communications over long distances that their voice cannot reach.
“Now with the pandemic, the mask is a communication barrier for me. When I work on the assembly line, I try to maintain social distance from other workers, move my mask aside so they can see my mouth, and communicate in simple sign language. All this helps me ensure that my message is correctly received by the other party and I understand others. Good communications are important to us all.”