Global Ergonomics Month Tip: Optimize Your Ergonomics Training

WSIB 2017 injury overview

October is Global Ergonomics Month and it’s the perfect time to spread awareness of musculoskeletal disorder (MSDs) hazards in the workplace and for good reason: Ontario’s WSIB reported that 44% of injuries across all industries was caused by sprains and strains in 2017.

This international outreach campaign is crucial for the success of both the employer and its employees. The Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers Inc. (OHCOW) clarifies further: “[It promotes] … optimizing human well-being as well as overall system performance by proactively designing work and work systems to fit the people interfacing with them in ways that improve efficiency, productivity, health, safety and comfort. Ergonomics is ultimately good for business and good for people.” We couldn’t agree more.

There are 31 days in this Global Ergonomics Month, so what can you implement at your workplace to help spread ergonomic awareness? Scheduling ergonomic training/education sessions can be a quick short-term goal and have tremendous ROI on your worker safety to help reduce the onset of MSDs. We have these tips to make sure your training sessions are effective ones:

1) Review your Health & Safety training program and audit its content.

Have you reviewed your training to see if it delivers relevant education on the ergonomic hazards that specifically affect your workers? For example: A field worker may not benefit from a safe lifting video that illustrates how-to pick-up boxes and other compact loads, especially when their job requires lifting water-filled hoses, picking up wood pallets or other asymmetrical loads. Customizing the content of your training with actual scenarios with real solutions will make it more significant to your employees.

2) What does the delivery of your training look like?

lego ergonomic training session

Could you say with confidence that your training is engaging, interactive and valuable? We often associate H&S training as e-learning modules and in-class gatherings, which may not help highlight the ergonomic hazards your staff encounters. If you choose the in-class setting, consider videos and innovative, hands-on activities to complement the content. Better yet, get your staff right in their work environment and go through actual scenarios (with applicable tools and movements) to present information in a visual manner.

3) Supervisors and Team Leaders need training too.

on the floor forklift training

Yes, ergonomic awareness training applies to your Managers, Supervisors and Team Leaders. Why? Often these people are your experts, the mentors and to whom people turn to for troubleshooting and on-the-floor training. Armed with knowledge on how to identify and address hazards, you can be assured that these leaders will correct less experienced staff and offer advice on how to adopt effective work method strategies to minimize their exposure to the ergonomic hazards in their jobs.

4) Informed employees are engaged employees.

workers from all industries

Employees report that when they perceive that their employers care about their health, safety and wellness, they are more satisfied with their jobs. Providing ergonomic awareness training and strategies on how to minimize exposure educates staff on how to reduce injuries but it also helps them become engaged in their workplaces and identify risks which can then be communicated to their supervisors. When encouraged, workplace improvements can be made, and employees feel respected and valued for their input. Your workers are aware, in a positive mindset, healthy and productive. That’s a win for everyone.

Check out our additional ideas on how to improve your ergonomic training sessions by visiting our Ergonomic Training for Front-Line Staff article.

Contact our team of Certified Ergonomists to discuss how we can help you optimize your ergonomic action plan this October. We’re passionate about workplace ergonomics and want to help you! We offer a wide array of ergonomic consulting services that includes engaging and valuable ergonomics training classroom or on-the-floor sessions. We guarantee our expertise in addressing ergonomic concerns in your industry will help you at all levels within your organization to gain improvements in your bottom line.

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