In 2004, researchers working with insurance company Liberty Mutual decided to see how much of an impact a little knowledge could have on injury rates. Fitting two groups of workers with adjustable workstations, researchers gave only one of the groups training on how and why to adjust their workstations. Their results found that the workers who received training also reported far less discomfort than workers who didn’t receive training. Knowledge and how it plays out in the form of worker behavior made a difference.
Is an adjustable workstation by itself not enough? No, say some experts, and the same theory can apply to almost any engineered device. On occasion, just about any tool can get left in the corner by workers who, for whatever reason, just don’t bother to use it. It’s the “lead a horse to water” theory
This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2005-01-12.