Federal OSHA has introduced a new interactive training tool designed to help small businesses identify safety hazards in the workplace.

Through the new tool, employers and workers can virtually explore how to identify common workplace hazards in the manufacturing and construction industries. In addition to hazard identification, users also can learn about hazard abatement and control, according to OSHA.

While the tool focuses on manufacturing and construction, it can also be of use in other industries that use manual labor, tools and machinery.

The website is designed to open people’s eyes to the various hazards that may exist in a workplace and instill the importance of inspecting work areas, watching work processes, talking to employees who perform the work and consulting machinery user manuals.

The game has three scenarios to choose from:

  • Manufacturing – In this module you can choose to play the owner of a manufacturing facility or a worker. As the owner you get penalized for slacking on your risk management duties.
    The amount of detail in terms of different work areas is good and it should provide a reference point for managers looking for safety issues in their shops. Many of the work areas could apply to warehouse operations and order fulfillment.
    If too many of your workers get injured or have close calls, you’ll hear from them with a resounding “boo.”

The module also allows for an accident to happen, so you can conduct an inspection to see what caused it. The game gives you the opportunity to remedy the problem as well.

The key is to spend money fixing various safety issues and investigate and remedy the causes of any accidents. Once someone gets injured, the costs increase drastically and may make it difficult to turn a profit. The goal is to finish the game with a strong safety climate and the largest profit you can muster.

It also has a “worker” mode, but it’s impossible to mess up in that game.

  • Construction – In this module you play the operator of a construction site who must balance turning a profit while also focusing on safety. The exercise starts with a construction site with various work areas that have their own inherent hazards, as well as hazards that are unique to the worksite at hand.
    The idea is to inspect each area, identify hazards and remedy them before they result in a workplace injury. Be careful, if you do too little, you’ll have an accident that will eat into your profit.
    Fortunately, the game lets you learn from your mistake and remedy the issue that caused the accident. If you do too little, your workers will boo you.
  • Visual inspection training – This exercise has general information for other industries. The player is put through a series of scenarios, where they must inspect the workplace, observe the worker in action to detect any hazards and “talk” to the worker to learn his concerns.
    There are four settings: a saw inspection, a mixer inspection, a scaffolding inspection and a fall protection inspection. The basic drill is to identify hazards, and the three-pronged approach of inspecting, watching the worker in action and talking to the worker drives home the essence of visual inspections.