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Data-driven Employee Training

A company that provides a wide range of raw materials, equipment, and supplies to industry wanted to develop a set of training videos focusing on safe working practices for employees who work in their distribution centers. 

One goal of this effort was to demonstrate how the use of improved work techniques creates jobs that are easier, safer, and more efficient to perform, and to present this information in an understandable way.

As a result, the company developed a series of training modules that addressed ergonomics concepts important in manual materials handling, such as:

  • Handling items closer to the body, to reduce the physical effort to perform the task
  • Properly positioning oneself relative to the work, to increase physical capability
  • Using work practices that reduce unnecessary and repetitive activities

These were supplemented with video segments showing employees performing actual warehouse tasks and explained using everyday language.

The novel aspect of this training was the integration of quantitative, biomechanical information to supplement the impact on the body of using different work practices.  A team from SRI-Ergonomics worked with the company to collect this data using ergonomics assessment equipment, including wireless electromyography and the Lumbar Motion Monitor.  Examples of how this information was integrated into the video training modules, showing riskier versus safer work practices, are shown in the included images.

The response to these videos was very positive.  Employees appreciated the dynamic approach to training, which included:

  • An introduction to ergonomics principles
  • The application of those principles to relatable tasks
  • Visual contrasting of alternative approaches using ergonomic assessment equipment

In addition, company health & safety personnel have seen that safer work practices continue to be used by employees, long after they attended the video training.

While the partnership with the SRI-Ergonomics team was intended for training, it also identified several best-practices for common movements.  Benefits have been seen not only through behavioral observations, but also through company health & safety data.