Should ergonomics training be provided regularly? If so, why?

Basic employee ergonomics training, as we described in a previous blog should be provided upon hire. But after that, do employees need ergonomics training? We argue that, yes, training should be provided regularly. Here’s why:

  1. Orientation is a blur. (“The mind can only absorb as much as the butt can endure,” or so said P. Dan Wiwchar.) Even if you can assume that even your highest seniority employees participated in ergonomics training during orientation, you shouldn’t assume that they absorbed it all. Our hope during orientation is that new employees get the messages:
    • that the company cares about them
    • that there are people they can ask for help, and
    • that the workplace includes strain/sprain injury hazards that they should beware.
  2. Hazard-specific training should be provided to all employees. Federally-regulated organizations are bound under the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (SOR/86-304) to provide safe lifting training to any employee who is required to lift or carry objects weighing more than 10 kg. Provincially regulated organizations don’t follow quite such a prescriptive rule, although most would agree that providing some type of lifting training is good practice. Drivers should be taught how to make adjustments to the seat, wheel, and mirrors of their vehicles, and custodians should be taught how to use best practices for mopping, wiping, pushing carts, etc. Office workers should be taught how and why to make adjustments to their furniture.
  3. Research indicates that people use best work practices immediately after they are taught them, but adherence drops off over time. Keep “pinging” the message to maintain the momentum that you generate during training!
  4. Workers also respond well to training after an injury. People are motivated to reduce energy output and pain. Delivering training when the timing is right might result in better uptake.
  5. Jobs change. When we introduce new equipment or new challenges, we should provide training to allow people to use it.
  6. People move to new jobs. You might provide great training to a group of employees, teaching them about the hazards in that department, how to use best practices, and how to use material handling equipment such as hoist and lift tables. But if people move to new jobs in the facility, they will likely also be using different best practices, and different equipment. Hazard-specific training needs to be provided to employees who are new to the job, even if they are not new to the organization.

How can we help you?

  1. Join us on October 7 for our “Lifting Tips Train-the-Trainer” where we first teach participants to use 15 safe lifting techniques, and then we provide coaching templates to allow participants to customize a training plan, and teach these techniques in their workplace.
  2. We can customize our core program for ergo orientation, and hand it over to you to facilitate.
  3. We offer off-the-shelf face-2-face training focused on driving, lifting, industrial, office, and outdoor work, which makes a great start for hazard-specific training.
  4. When it’s time for refresher training, we can help you to customize a program that identifies best practices that are very specific to your workplace.