Part of growing up often means putting your childhood toys on the shelf but who says that has to be the case? Certainly not Bob Coyner, an Equipment Specialist and Instructor who teaches construction workers how to avoid common work site mishaps by using Rokenbok toys to recreate scenarios.

Coyner began conducting hands-on instruction with Rokenbok toys about two years ago. He was teaching a class how to operate a bulldozer in dangerous situations, such as along shear walls or near bodies of water, and some of the students were having trouble understanding the information without a visual demonstration.

“I remembered that my son played with and loved Rokenbok toys,” Coyner said. “He is now twenty and studying to become an engineer. As luck would have it, I found the old Rokenbok toys in storage in our barn, and took them to class. They were an immediate hit with the students and just the hook that I needed to get the information across.”

He recreated the scenes and let the students act out the situations using the toys before moving to the actual construction site. This allowed them to gain valuable experience before entering a potentially hazardous situation.

Coyner has used Rokenbok toys to demonstrate a variety of construction site scenarios, such as advanced operations exercises, roll-over scenarios and cycle time management.

“Acting out the maneuvers on the table top with the toys, is always more effective than platform training or book work exercises,” Coyner said. “The toys always evoke laughter, which in turn triggers higher order thinking, which stimulates memory. Its also fun.”

The following is an example Coyner shared about a recent class that he taught:

    "I was teaching a class in advanced operations and was using the scenario of a fictitious construction site, an open pit deep excavation that suffered a catastrophic accident resulting in deaths, a fallen tower crane and contaminated soil. We spent four entire days planning the sequence in which we would clean the site, remove the contamination, ensure worker safety and comply with governing authorities. We selected equipment and calculated payload capacities of trucks. We laid out haul roads, estimated cycle times and fuel cost. We planned for accidents during the operation etc... On the last day I divided the class into two groups. I gave each group 10 seconds to view the project (toys) laid out on a table and timed them as they carried out the scenario. One group followed the plans and completed the exercise in 35 minutes. The other group fell apart and worked as if the previous four days of work did not exist and took 70 minutes to complete the task.”

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