February 2020 Newsletter:

Amp up Your Ergonomics Awareness Training

Ergonomic Awareness Training

Front-line staff have a deep understanding of the work they do every day. Teaching them to identify hazards related to ergonomics (force, repetition, duration, posture) that may be occurring in their own job can tap into their expertise to help improve both safety and productivity.

Ergonomics Awareness training should focus on educating and empowering workers to identify actions that may put them at an increased risk of an MSD injury, like repetitive forceful exertions and sustained awkward postures.

Here are some general guidelines for what should be included in any Ergonomic Awareness training:

  • Basic ergonomic injury information (What is an MSD? How does it occur? What are the signs/symptoms?)
  • Ergonomic hazards to look for at their workstations (force, awkward or static posture, repetition, vibration, etc.)
  • Communication about proper reporting processes to generate continuous improvement ideas

Now that you’ve got a content outline, it’s time to AMP up your training to make the content engaging! Nothing worse than another PowerPoint slide show – right?

Use relevant pictures/video

Pictures really do speak a thousand words so use video and pictures of actual tasks at your worksite. Have employees talk about what hazards they see, how they could do it better through work method changes and how they could improve the job with engineering changes (e.g. do they need a new tool for this?).

Consider the environment

Some topics are covered easily in a PowerPoint. Some are not! Think about the audience and what makes the most sense to grab their attention and make the training session applicable to them. Can you hold the session IN their actual environment (on the plant floor, outdoors, etc.)? The classroom environment isn’t always the most conducive for learning.

Practical scenarios

Don’t forget about the true meaning of the word “training”! A training session should allow for skill development. It is extremely valuable to include practical, hands-on activities to reinforce the theoretical knowledge; this is where you stand to make the biggest impact in achieving Ergonomic Awareness! Real-life examples, activities, case studies, etc. allow employees the opportunity to problem-solve and apply the information to their actual tasks.

When armed with knowledge and skills, workers can improve their own movements and better alert management to other potential problems. In addition to helping keep workers safe and injury-free, this type of dialogue can help to cultivate a workplace where employees feel valued and respected because they are contributing to positive changes in their job.

So, take a look at how Ergonomics Awareness training is currently being delivered to your front-line staff. Is it successful? Are you actually seeing increased “ergonomics awareness” by staff? If not, it could be time for a tweak, or an overhaul! Capitalize on the knowledge of the experts in the job – the front-line workers – and give them the knowledge and tools to be able to address ergonomic hazards in their own jobs.

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