The Globalization of Ergonomics Training

April 17, 2007
The latest issue of Humantech's Ergo Accelerator Newsletter contains an interview with Tony Silva, a senior consultant and ergonomics engineer with Humantech, who answers the question: How do you ensure ergonomics training programs are effective in foreign countries?

According to Silva, who has conducted training classes in other countries, programs and processes such as ergonomics should be rolled out in a consistent fashion.

Silva and Humantech offer these best practices to ensure success:

  1. Provide training material in the native language. “Sitting through a 3-week course on Six Sigma and receiving all of the training and material in a language I do not speak, read or write would make it very difficult for me to learn.” Silva says. Humantech currently offers training materials in 12 languages.
  2. Provide a translator, especially if the instructor does not speak the native language of the students.
  3. Build extra time into the agenda for questions.
  4. Learn about the country. “I try to find some interesting tidbits about the country where I'll be training and include the material during my introduction,” says Sliva. “It's always fun if you can teach participants new and interesting information about their own country.”
  5. Learn about the country's main customs so that you can avoid making mistakes related to cultural differences.
  6. Choose your humor carefully. “Jokes or cartoons that are funny in one country may not apply or be offensive in another,” Silva points out.
  7. Finally, says Silva, “Have fun! I find that foreign trainers are often well received. Maybe it’s the novelty of someone speaking Canadian, eh!”

You can read the latest edition of the Ergo Accelerator Newsletter here.

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