Safetip #56: Provide Training on Ergonomics

November 23, 2016
By Jean-Grégoire Manoukian

This week’s Safetip is about ergonomics training, which is an important part of the ergonomic process.

Ergonomics Training Helps to Reduce the Risk of MSDs

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are among the most frequently reported causes of lost or restricted work time, OSHA says. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2013, MSD cases accounted for 33% of all worker injury and illness cases in the U.S. The implementation of an ergonomic process is an effective way to reduce the risk of developing MSDs in industries such as construction, food processing, firefighting, office jobs, healthcare, transportation and warehousing.

Training is an important part of the ergonomic process. According to OSHA, ergonomics training should be conducted in a language and vocabulary understood by all workers, and provided by individuals who have experience with ergonomic issues in your particular industry. An effective ergonomics training program allows workers to:

  • Learn the principles of ergonomics and their applications.
  • Learn about the proper use of equipment, tools and machine controls.
  • Use good work practices, including proper lifting techniques.
  • Become more aware of work tasks that may lead to pain or injury.
  • Recognize early symptoms of MSDs.
  • Understand the importance of reporting and addressing early indications of MSDs before serious injuries develop.
  • Understand procedures for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses.

Resources for Ergonomics Training

Here are links to resources on ergonomics training from OSHA:

  • OSHA’s Directorate of Training and Education (DTE) provides training on many topics, including ergonomics. Courses are delivered through the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) and OTI Education Centers. A searchable schedule is available where you should look for the following course under “Course Title”: #2255 Principles of Ergonomics Applied to Work-Related Musculoskeletal and Nerve Disorders.
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Includes free resources, tips and links to education and training in the human factors/ergonomics (HF/E) field.
  • Cal/OSHA. Includes many outreach and training materials about ergonomics. Most are found under the “Construction Ergonomics” and “Ergonomics” tabs.
  • Oregon OSHA: Ergonomics. Includes links to publications, resources and educational materials.

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