Ergonomics Awareness Training for Construction Workers (Outline of a 2-hr Master Ergonomic Training Curriculum)

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COHP, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Summary Statement

The outline of a program that can be used to train workers about ergonomics, including definitions, risk factors, and discussions about how to lessen the risks. Includes a link to an article about the success of the program with a group of operating engineers.

Ergonomics Awareness Training for Construction Workers (Outline of a 2-hr Master Ergonomic Training Curriculum)

A 2-hour workshop in identifying and solving ergonomic problems on construction sites for workers and supervisors

Today's trainers:
(place trainers names here)

Today's date:
(place today's date here)

Developed jointly by the Construction Occupational Health Project (COHP) at University of Mass. Lowell, the Mass. Building Trades Council, AFL-CIO and IUOE Local 4


By the conclusion of this workshop, the participants will have:

  • identified injuries caused by ergonomic problems common to construction workers
  • discussed the problems (Risk Factors) causing these injuries
  • practiced using risk mapping as an Ergonomic Job Analysis for identifying and reducing Risk Factors
  • evaluated this workshop

Workshop Agenda

  • Review of program and objectives
  • Introductions and needs assessment
  • Body map: Where does your job hurt you
  • Risk factors: What makes it hurt?
  • Job analysis and redesign?
  • Connecting complaints and risk factors; fixing problems
  • Evaluation

What are your questions about the workshop?

Activity 1 Review of program and objectives

Definition of ergonomics:

Ergonomics is ...
Ergonomics is the science and art of fitting the job and the workplace to workers' needs. Use your brain, not your back. Fix the job, not the worker.

Activity 2 Introductions and needs assessment: What is ergonomics?

In small groups, introduce yourselves to each other and discuss:

What do you know about ergonomics?
Write your ideas on cards. PLEASE WRITE IN LARGE LETTERS.

We will then post the cards and discuss your ideas.

What do you see?
What does it mean to you?
Why learn about ergonomics in construction?

Before Activity 3 begins, go around the room and each introduce ourselves.

Activity 3 Ergonomic injuries: Where does your job hurt you?

In small groups, discuss:

Where do construction workers' bodies hurt?

After a few minutes' discussion, one person from each group go up the BODY MAP posted on the wall and mark the places that hurt that your group has discussed.

When all groups are finished placing their dots:

What do we see?

These injuries are called by various names.
What are some of the names of these injuries?

Make a list of the injuries on flipchart.

Activity 4 RISK FACTORS: What makes it hurt?

A. Name the problems. In small groups, discuss:

What things do construction workers do that cause these injuries?

Write each problem on a card. PLEASE WRITE IN LARGE LETTERS.

B. The language of ergonomics. Scientists call the things that cause injuries "Risk Factors."

In the large group:

What are some Risk Factors for other diseases?

Posted on the wall are the Risk Factors that cause these ergonomic injuries:


What are some examples of these Risk Factors for construction workers?

C. Blending our language with the science of ergonomics. Place the cards with your answers to the question
"What things do construction workers do that cause these injuries?" where you think they belong on the Risk Factor boxes.

What do we see?

What are your questions?

Activity 5 JOB ANALYSIS AND REDESIGN: Connecting complaints and risk factors; fixing the problems

A. Ergonomic Job Analysis (EJA) : making a "Risk Map"

Break into small groups and spread around the room. Each group should have a sheet of newsprint and a couple of magic markers.

STEP 1: Draw a typical construction job or task. Include people, machinery, tools, materials and anything else you like.
STEP 2: Referring to the previous activity, mark the Risk Factors for ergonomic injuries on the drawing.
STEP 3: List the changes that have been made to this work since the members of the group have been working. Label these "Past Changes."
STEP 4: Select one Risk Factor you want to eliminate. Suggest at least one way to change it. List and label these as "Changes still to make."

B. Report-back on EJAs

Each group, select a presenter to describe your EJA to the large group.

  • What job did you select?
  • What are the Risk Factors for this job?
  • Which did you eliminate and how?
  • Why did you choose that Risk Factor?

C. Discuss in a large group:

What needs to happen to make these changes happen?


What did you like about this workshop?
What suggestions do you have for changes?

Checklist of needed supplies

  • 5x7 index cards
  • masking tape
  • magic markers
  • pad of newsprint/poster paper
  • a drawing of a body (front and back)