Although there have always been many companies that offer their workers ergonomics training to help them identify risk factors that present opportunity for injury, only recently has a study been done to show if such training is actually of any help. The participants in said study were college individuals without any industrial experience.
Researchers from the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health published a new study that training does indeed improve a worker’s ability to identify potential for musculoskeletal injuries.
A facility in Iowa that manufactures vinyl windows hosted the study. Three safety personnel, a production manager, a human resources manager, a representative from maintenance and three production employees were on the team that received the training.
These workers received initial training followed by support meetings for a year. Instruction during the training included:
-musculoskeletal anatomy and risk factors
-formal exposure assessments
-hands on, team-based assessments of tasks performed at the facility
-examples of the development, implementation and evaluation of ergonomic controls and
-cost benefit analysis.
The initial training took almost three work days and each support meeting thereafter was about two hours in duration once a month for a year.
The results was both the research team and workers agreed that identification of risk factors did in fact increase after the training and year’s worth of follow up meetings. The biggest improvement was found for risks of neck and shoulder type injuries. The biggest agreement between the two groups was for potential musculoskeletal injuries to the lower back.
Researchers note that this is only findings after one year and that findings could be more significant if training happened over a longer period of time.
Moral of the stories, trainings for workers do seem to work and now you have scientific proof. It is important and wise, however, to continue on going education and training indefinitely.