The NZ Food & Grocery Council has launched an online training tool for teaching employees to avoid manual handling injuries. The First Move Manual Handling Programme is an easy-to-use and effective course that addresses the risks and consequences of manual handling.

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, but it will also minimise confusion about what is ‘best practice’ as they switch jobs.

Provention CEO Alison Richmond said 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.”

The programme offers:

  • The 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.

FGC Chief Executive Katherine Rich believes 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 and Safety Working Group, Delmaine Fine Foods CEO Gerry Lynch, added that the 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 the 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.”

The course was developed in conjunction with the FGC’s Health and Safety Working Group, workplace injury prevention trainers Provention and online provider Intuto. The course is likely to be the first of other online resources on health and safety produced by the council.