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New game apps teach safe lifting and materials handling practices

Resources | January 1, 2019 | By:

The Center for Construction Research and Training, an OSHA Alliance Program participant, has launched a number of new safety resources, including free game apps to help educate employees on how to prevent injuries that result from manually lifting and moving heavy materials.

Lifting heavy items is one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace. According to the National Safety Council’s Injury Facts®, bodily reaction to overexertion was the number one cause of occupational injuries resulting in days away from work in the United States in 2016. The most frequent part of the body hurt in these types of injuries is the back, and the typical number of days lost per injury is 12.

With app developer Simcoach Games, the Center for Construction Research and Training is working to change those statistics with two apps: “Lift Coach: Plan Your Lift” and “Lift Coach: Plan Your Route.”

In the “Lift Coach: Plan Your Lift” game, players correct the on-screen character in the act of lifting and moving an object. The goal is to avoid actions that can increase the risk of being hurt, such as lifting and moving in awkward postures, bending, twisting and overreaching. The character starts off in a neutral posture, but will switch to ones that could result in unnecessary strain. It’s up to the player to notice and correct what the character is doing. Players need to pay attention and react quickly to avoid building up too much strain and getting injured.

The app features five levels of varying difficulty plus an interactive tutorial, and five corrective gestures to memorize and perfect.

The “Lift Coach: Plan Your Route” app is a puzzle game that engages players in planning how they will safely lift and move construction materials on a jobsite to avoid injury. Players will build up strain faster or slower depending on the decisions they make when planning how they will lift and move an object. Completing work involves moving the object from one part of the jobsite to another. Moving objects safely requires identifying when to use lifting equipment or get help from a coworker, as well as identifying potential hazards along the route.

As players advance through the game, the size of the jobsite increases and becomes more complex. The game features randomly assigned levels of difficulty and lifting equipment such as hand trucks and lifting partners.

Available in English and Spanish, both apps give players the opportunity to earn badges through the Simcoach Skill Arcade.

Other new safety resources from the Center for Construction Research include:

  • A training program on noise hazards and preventing hearing loss
  • A list of personal protective equipment designed for female construction workers
  • A training module on effective safety leadership for construction supervisors and team leaders
  • An online tool to conduct safety climate assessments to improve worker safety perceptions at jobsites
  • An online network of construction safety and health experts and resources

Download the free “Lift Coach: Plan Your Lift” and “Lift Coach: Plan Your Route” apps from the Apple and Google Play app stores and Amazon. Find additional safety resources from the Center for Construction Research at

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