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Techniques in Trainings: Making Your Hand Safety Training Stick Out Like a Sore Thumb

- January 19, 2016 by Tom Keel (View all posts by Tom)

Nothing paints a clearer picture than walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. This is especially true when showing employees the downfalls of not following safety procedures. For this “Techniques in Trainings” post, I’ll be sharing an eye opening tactic that is sure to capture your Team Members’ attention when discussing hand/finger injury prevention—cutting their thumbs off.


Life Without a Thumb

When kicking off a training on avoiding hand/finger injuries, first ask your trainees to sit down. Sitting on the floor or a chair will both work equally well.

Next, ask them to untie their shoes.

Then, ask them to re-tie their shoes without using either of their thumbs.

To keep the mood on the lighter side, announce that the first person to successfully re-tie their shoes will win a prize.

Their dexterity will be severely limited, and most will quickly get disqualified or give up. A couple of points to make while the others attempt to get their laces tied that will reinforce the reality of losing a finger, include:

  • Tying a shoe is something a child can do—but you won’t be able to do without a thumb
  • Shoe options will be limited to slip-on and Velcro
  • Remind them of past hand injuries at the facility
  • Explain where the major exposures are for hand injuries

Give those that continue to try about five minutes before stopping the activity and getting the group refocused—this will be sufficient to give them a taste of being thumbless. Beginning a training with a tangible activity that reinforces the objective (avoiding hand/finger injuries) makes it personal for the audience, as they will be able to feel firsthand the impact to their lives.

I’m always looking for creative and interactive activities that other supervisors and trainers have used to interact with their teams. Please share what you do in the comments section—I look forward to reading your ideas.

Stay tuned for my next “Techniques in Trainings” post—finding the plumbed eye wash station.

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