Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Storytelling as an Effective Tool for Safety Training

The National Institute for Occupational and Safety and Health (NIOSH) has released a report on a sever-year research project entitled "Tell Me a Story: Why Stories are Essential to Effective Safety Training." NIOSH needed new training materials for miners, in a manner that was culturally appropriate.
Miners are storytellers. One need only spend time with them to observe that they interact with each other through the telling of stories. Such stories may be about close calls they have had, about other master miners they have known and worked with (and in many cases, learned from), about someone they knew who made an error in judgment and paid dearly for it, or about things they have seen and experienced as they have gone through their careers. The role of miners’ stories is complex and includes the sharing and strengthening of their occupational culture as well as the bonding that must exist to survive in a dangerous environment.
Of course, they didn't hire storytellers to come in and share folk tales. They brought in camera crews and had the miners tell their stories. Full evaluation report from Elaine T. Cullen, Ph.D., and Albert H. Fein, Ph.D available as PDF file (and it's in the public domain!).

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