When you have 2,000 drivers handling approximately 12,000 pounds of material and walking 10 miles every day, keeping those drivers safe and functional is critical. This was the challenge facing Nestlé ReadyRefresh North America. “This isn’t a problem we can solve with traditional ergonomics or machinery,” says John Longo, director, Safety Health & Environment (SHE) at Nestlé ReadyRefresh.
What the company needed was a program that could provide drivers with education, tools and training to help them navigate the varied physical and environmental obstacles they face on a daily basis.
So Nestlé ReadyRefresh partnered with Worklete to do just that.
“The Worklete team took on some tough challenges,” says Longo. “Not just with the development and application of safe movement, but collaborating with our safety team, front line workers and front line supervisors to further understand the real nature of our work along with different geographies and subcultures, and incorporate the employees’ input into the finished product and programs.”
According to Jennifer Jones, senior manager of SHE compliance, there was a near immediate positive impact among the newly trained front line champions. Champions are trained by Worklete, become leaders of the program, and in-turn train front-line employees on Worklete movement and protocols. It wasn’t long before the positive impact spread throughout the organization.
“Seasoned route employees returned after using the Worklete approach singing its praises,” she says. “The most common responses were, ‘less soreness’ and ‘less fatigue.’”
Motivated by that initial response, the company began to implement the program as part of its regular training protocols. But Longo knew that, in order to be effective, Worklete needed to a long-term commitment.
“It takes time for workers to adopt safe methods, see success and build on embedding it as a natural part of the way we perform manual handling,” the director explains.
Five years later, Worklete has become an integral element of the Nestlé ReadyRefresh safety culture. All drivers participate in a 5-minute Worklete weekly lesson and new hires go through the training immediately as part of initial onboarding. Thanks to the Worklete app and website, drivers have unlimited access to videos and online modules.
Jones is very pleased with the positive impact she’s seen since the partnership began.
“Although the focus is on applying the approach to work tasks, our employees use the approach in their personal lives as well like when picking up their children or coaching on the field, for example,” Jones says.
Longo adds that Worklete’s value is well understood by Nestlé ReadyRefresh employees. “They feel the Worklete methods are relevant to their jobs and makes sense. They believe Worklete methods will help them avoid injury,” he says. “They understand that the job-specific Worklete techniques will keep them safe and make them stronger.”
The program has been so effective that certain locations have become completely injury-free. In June 2019, the Nestlé ReadyRefresh Vallejo branch celebrated over 600 work days without an injury or accident. This is a major achievement and is a strong reminder that movement matters when it comes to staying pain-free and avoiding injury at work.