Identifying and solving workplace MSD problems require some level of ergonomic knowledge and skills. Recognizing and filling different training needs is an important step in building an effective program.
For ergonomics, the overall goal of training is to enable managers, supervisors, and employees to identify aspects of job tasks that may increase a worker's risk of developing MSDs, recognize the signs and symptoms of the disorders, and participate in the development of strategies to control or prevent them.
The educational component of ergonomics training ensures employees are well informed about ergonomic hazards so they can actively participate in identifying and controlling exposures. To be "well informed," includes knowing why using ergonomically safe procedures are important.
Employers may opt to have outside experts conduct ergonomics education and training. If so, the outside instructors should first become familiar with company operations as well as relevant policies and practices before starting to present the training. Tailoring the instruction to address specific concerns and interests of the worker groups can enhance learning.
The objectives for ergonomics awareness training are as follows:
The objectives for training in job analyses and control measures are as follows:
The objectives for training in problem solving are as follows:
Training objectives are not intended to have workers, supervisors, or managers diagnose or treat MSDs. Rather, the purpose is to instill an understanding of what type of health problems may be work related and when to refer employees for medical evaluation. The training should include what is known about work and non-work causes of musculoskeletal disorders and the current limitations of scientific knowledge.
Training should be understandable to the target audience. Training materials used should consider the participants educational levels, literacy abilities, and language skills. This may mean, for example, providing materials, instruction, or assistance in Spanish rather than English.
Open and frank interactions between trainers and trainees, especially those in affected jobs, are especially important. Employees know their own jobs better than anyone else and often are the source of good ideas for ways to improve them. At a minimum, employees must be given an opportunity to discuss ergonomic problems in their jobs as they see them and engage in relevant problem-solving exercises during the training.
Step 1 - Introduction: The instructor tells the trainee about the training. At this time, the instructor emphasizes the importance of the procedure to the success of the production/service goals, invites questions, and emphasizes accountability.
Step 2 - Instructor show and tell: The instructor demonstrates the process. The instructor first explains and demonstrates safe work procedures associated with the task. In this step the trainee becomes familiar with each work practice and why it is important.
Step 3 - Instructor show and ask: The trainee tells the instructor how to do the procedure while the instructor does it. This step is actually optional, but it's important to include this step if injury is possible. There is an opportunity for the instructor to discover whether there were any misunderstandings, but protects the trainee because the instructor still performs the procedure.
Step 4 - Trainee tell and show: The trainee explains and accomplishes the procedure. The trainee carries out the procedure but remains protected because the he or she explains the process before actually performing the procedure.
Step 5 - Conclusion: The instructor recognizes accomplishment. The instructor also reemphasizes the importance of the procedure, and how it fits into the overall process. The instructor also reviews the natural consequences (the injury/illness) and system consequences (reward/discipline) related to performance.
Step 6 - Document: The trainee, instructor, and supervisor certify the training. The trainee certifies the training was accomplished, questions were answered, opportunities were provided to practice, accountabilities are understood, and the student intends to comply. The instructor certifies that the trainee has demonstrated adequate knowledge and skills. The supervisor certifies that the trainee has adequate ability to use equipment or complete the procedure on the job.
If it isn't in writing...it didn't happen
OSHA requires that training be documented and, in some cases, certified. You can tell a compliance officer training occurred until your ears turn blue, but if it isn't documented, you may be hard pressed to adequately demonstrate that it actually occurred. So, as a last word, be sure you document that safety training took place. In your documentation both worker and trainer should certify at least:
Take a look at this sample training certification.
There you have it. Only one more review quiz. Answer each question as best you can.