A first-of-its-kind online tool to train employees in how to avoid manual handling injuries has been developed and launched by the NZ Food & Grocery Council.

The First Move Manual Handling Programme is an easy-to-use and effective course that addresses the risks and consequences of manual handling. It is likely to be the first of other online resources on health & safety.

Once enrolled, employees can access standardised manual handling safety concepts that are relevant to all job roles across the industry. Not only will the programme make them more aware of the risks they face and the ways to avoid injury, it will minimise confusion about what is ‘best practice’ as they switch jobs.

It was developed by FGC’s Health & Safety Working Group in conjunction with workplace injury prevention trainers Provention and online provider Intuto, which will run the training platform.

The programme offers the following tools to users:

  • latest concepts on manual handling and updates
  • unlimited access to other FGC H&S courses as they become available
  • company branding
  • full administration training and support
  • user compliance reporting, encouragement emails, certificate of completion
  • additional business-specific training materials

Pricing to access the programme has been set to reward FGC members while reflecting the resources available to companies of different sizes.

Once the initial package has been rolled out across the grocery industry, it is planned to develop additional ones that could be used across other industries.

Provention CEO Alison Richmond says one of the main benefits of the programme is to provide a consistent message to ensure that as people move between companies they are still talking the same language on safe movement.

“And once people adopt these standards, they can be assured of having them reinforced, regardless of where they work.”

FGC Chief Executive Katherine Rich says the programme could be a game changer for workplace safety, and she is confident the industry will embrace it.

“The concept of having easily accessible, standardised, and transferrable training that is recognised when you move to another company is brilliant.

“I also applaud the idea of rolling it out past grocery and into other industries. Clearly that’s a longer-term goal, but it’s great to see grocery leading the way.

“New Zealand could be the first country to have a single standard for a range of health and safety principles, and that’s very exciting.”

The Chair of FGC’s Health & Safety Working Group, Delmaine Fine Foods CEO Gerry Lynch, says FGC has always had a sharp focus on reducing harm in the workplace, and the online concept was the result of hard work by a lot of people.

“We have realised that one of the barriers to improved skills in this space is accessibility to training and the confusion that exists as a result of different organisations having different standards. By getting this programme adopted, firstly across the grocery industry and then others, we will go a long way to making workplaces safer.

“We will be developing a series of further initiatives that will similarly be seeking to remove confusion in a diverse range of areas, such as mobile handling and transport.”

 For more details go to the Manual Handling section on the FGC website.