Safety on the Factory Floor at Vanderlande Industries

About Vanderlande

Vanderlande is one of the largest suppliers of automated material handling systems and services in the world. Their baggage conveyor systems are deployed in some of the largest airports like Heathrow in London, Schipol in Amsterdam and Charles de Gaulle in Paris. In the field of warehouse automaton their solutions are used by compaines like Nike, Tommy Hilfiger and Edeka.

The Challenge

Keeping it real

In order to have the target audience (factory workers) take the eLearning seriously it was essential that every aspect of the training looked real. This meant we could not use a lot of text or cartoon style images or even photographs. Using films to recreate scenarios was the only (and the best) way to develop the learning content. All of the actors were Vanderlande employees lending credibility to the videos.

Showing dangerous scenarios

Most learning on the factory floor has to do with avoiding dangerous situations. However, one side effect, of keeping it real is that dangerous or risky scenarios had to look real as well. Even though we had a very experienced film crew on site and they knew how to film dangerous situations there was always the risk that something would go wrong and cause harm – either to people or to equipment. And so extreme caution had to be taken at all times.

Making it interesting for factory workers

The eLearning was going to cover a topic which our target audience knew inside out. This meant that all times there was a risk of losing the audience. So when we developed the learning content – mostly in the form of films – we took care to keep the delivery style from being pedantic. We also kept our videos short – between 30 seconds and 2 minutes each.


Filming in a live situation where real work is being done at the same time always results in scheduling challenges. We filmed many different scenarios – from the use of power tools, to welding, to machining, to hoisting and lifting. In most cases we had one Vanderlande employee as an actor but for special functions there were others involved. And throughout the filming parts of the factory were not usable because we were there. And so perfect scheduling to minimize downtime was required.

The Solution

Web Based Training

The key learning content in this project was in the form of films. However, not everything could be filmed. Such topics were covered in the classical way – with Web Based Trainings. The WBTs also helped in testing the learner’s knowledge on a regular basis. The WBT was built using Articulate Storyline and then eventually connected to moodle through a scorm package.


Filming was the most interesting part of the project. Over a long shooting day we filmed in many different locations in the Vanderlande factory. For most of the scenarios we had one principal actor – a Vanderlande employee. For special scenarios like welding or machining we had actors in the form of employees who performed the same job each day. We had to take very special care while showing dangerous situations. In one such situation we had to show an employee almost getting run over by a forklift. In another scenario we showed what could happen if the sleeve of a shirt or jacket got caught in an electric drill.

The Implementation

Environmental Hazards

Environmental Hazards are those which exist in the surroundings of a factory floor and which indirectly and often unknowingly affect the worker. These include dangers like Noise levels, moving vehicles, and toxins in the air.


Damage caused by noise levels is one of the most deceiving and destructive types of dangers on a factory floor. Sometimes dismissed as annoying it can lead to permanent hearing loss.

Dangers from Internal Transport

The factory floor always has machines, equipment and people moving around. And if it is a factory in the Netherlands – throw in a bicycle as well. Informing everyone who works there to be aware of their environment was an important part of the training.

Order And Cleanliness

Order and Cleanliness in a factory are essential to attain optimal production efficiency. This eLearning course focused on the importance of this oft-neglected topic.

Personal Hygiene

Health concerns on the factory floor are not limited to wrong use of machines and equipment. Workers are also exposed to toxic materials, which with the lack of personal hygiene can easily enter the body.

Hazardous Substances

Hazardous substances are omnipresent on the factory floor. Sensitizing workers on the dangers posed by such substances is an integral part of any eLearning targeted towards factory workers.


Loctite is commonly used to secure nuts or bolts after they have been screwed in. Using films we demonstrated the correct and safe way of using this adhesive.

Toxic Liquids

Toxic Liquids need to be handled with extreme care or they can cause damage to the environment as well as to the person handling it. Using interactive eLearning pages we demonstrated the approved way of handling such liquids.

Handling & Storing Gas Cylinders

Using interactive eLearning pages and existing video content we showed how to read labels on gas cylinders, how to store them and how dangerous they can be if not handled correctly.

Knowledge of Power Tools

Electric and Pneumatic tools are an essential part of any job on the factory floor. Recognizing a tool and what you can do with it is an essential skill. Using this Drag and Drop activity we check the knowledge of the learner.

Protection from Welding Fumes

Welding creates toxic fumes and so it is important that the welder knows how to put on the mask as well as the exhaust tube before starting to weld. We filmed this process and included it in the eLearning.

Hoist / Lifting And Transport

It is important to use the right equipment for hoisting and moving heavy equipment. This film shows how to use this equipment.

Physical Strain

At times factory workers might be tempted to lift heavy material by themselves. But this can result is serious damage to the lower back and the vertebrae column. Combining film and animation we explain how this can happen.

The Results

The short-term results of this eLearning course are easy to measure. The entire factory staff of Vanderlande have been trained with consistency like never before. They have access to rich learning material made with film content which shows precisely how to perform certain actions, how to avoid others and what consequences could be in the event of a safety incident. Over the long-term success should be measured by seeing the reduction in the number of accidents on the factory floor.