Safety Voice for Ergonomics (SAVE): Evaluation of a masonry apprenticeship training program.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Applied ergonomics


BACKGROUND: Masons have a high rate of musculoskeletal disorders among construction workers and greater than all other industries. Viable solutions to musculoskeletal hazards have been identified by industry stakeholders, yet masons receive minimal ergonomics training. Apprentices, as the next generation of masons, need training and strategies to identify and speak up about ergonomic and safety issues on job sites. To fill this gap, our team developed the Safety Voice for Ergonomics (SAVE) training program.

METHODS: The interactive, 7-unit SAVE program was developed specifically for masonry brick and block apprentices. This innovative training contains detailed ergonomics lessons focusing on risk factors and solutions specific to this masonry craft. It also contains lessons that provide communication and problem solving strategies. Evaluation of SAVE employed a randomized control trial designed to assess the effectiveness of SAVE for apprentices over a six-month period.

RESULTS: Our findings demonstrated that compared to controls, SAVE trained apprentices used their safety voice more (P = .049) and had greater safety participation (P = .028). They adopted more ergonomic practices such as adjusting scaffolding (P = .016) and using better body postures (P = 042). Apprentices liked SAVE and indicated that it prompted them to change workplace safety behaviors.

CONCLUSIONS: SAVE is an effective program, providing needed ergonomic and safety communication training for workers as they begin their trade. The broad adoption of SAVE training by the masonry industry has the potential to empower apprentices, elevate the trade's safety culture, and ultimately reduce musculoskeletal disorders.

Clinical Institute

Mental Health