16 May 2024

Success stories

Using storytelling to train workers has been shown to improve safety performance in the construction industry. A technique called branching narrative – where the audience can decide how the story unfolds – was trialled a large construction firm that wanted to cut the number of incidents involving falling objects and change long-term behaviour.

A short film was produced by Gateway Consultants that used narrative branching to show the different decision points in the lead-up to an incident. The video included a total of 17 scenes and six decision points and each person attending the training would choose a pathway that involved viewing eight of the scenes and making four decisions. A set of additional online training resources, including quizzes and tutorials, was also created.

The training was launched in 2022 and sessions were held over a two-year period. By the end of 2022, the number of falling object incidents had reduced by 57% to just 12 – a number that was also maintained the following year.

Feedback from learners included: “The video can be a powerful tool in explaining the dangers associated with working at height. It conveys a more relatable scenario to operatives rather than just explaining it without a visual aid.”

The case study was presented by Shelley Stiles from Gateway Consultants (HSW) Ltd at Ergonomics & Human Factors 2024.

The findings of the research could help to create more effective training methods which achieve greater engagement with learners.