On Safety

The On Safety blog has moved.

Workplace safety: Just a game?

July 18, 2014

Can you learn important safety information from playing a game? OSHA seems to think so.

The agency last month released a training tool to help educate employers and workers on hazard identification. The tool is presented as an online game in which users can practice inspecting various items for hazards.

OSHA isn’t the first to go the route of using popular media to educate people, and something can be said about how games can help one’s mind.

However, are games the best environment for teaching someone to identify hazards? A game environment is limited to pre-determined events, and I question whether it can really teach someone job responsibilities as opposed to simply teaching them how to collect in-game points.

Bear in mind – I’m a member of the Nintendo Generation and a semi-active gamer. I believe games can be helpful in cognitive development, and can be considered an art form to a certain degree.

But I can’t help wondering if hiding safety lessons inside a generic game misses the point of safety training. After all, occupational safety shouldn’t be considered a game – something you can win or lose or start over with when you get frustrated.

What are your thoughts? Do you find these types of educational tools engaging – or condescending? Do you – or would you – use them in the workplace?

The opinions expressed in "On Safety" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)