Work instruction

Work instruction
Primary topic
Related topics
Methods and techniques

Work instruction is a description of how to proceed in a given situation or when operating a given device.There are different instructions:

  • device operation,
  • work safety instructions,
  • fire protection, etc.

An instruction is a form of an expression written in the form of a text, containing instructions on how to operate (some device), rules of conduct (safety instructions), how to perform (instructions from manufacturers). Often the text is combined with drawings or the whole is only in graphic form must be attached to each product.

The manual is to specify activities related to, for example, the start and end of work (health and safety instructions), it must be up-to-date available to everyone, visible, precise, legible and understandable so that the employee will understand well how to do the job. We find it in companies at workstations, at school, in medical clinics, in shops, etc. It is very important to follow the instructions. By following the instructions we will avoid damage to the machine or device and that we will not be injured during work. It must apply to devices, things that we will use during work.

The goal of work instruction[edit]

The goal of work instruction is to provide that the instruction recipient get the information needed to make their work in a satisfactory manner. Instructions are necessary for effective operator training and job improvement. Both the employer and the employee are obliged to follow the instructions. The goal of the work instruction is one – they were created in our work place because the chances that we will not destroy a machine or tool, that we will not be injured, etc. - increase significantly [1]. Work instructions in a wide sense, contain instructions in both verbal form (words delivered orally or on the paper) and non-verbal form (for examples pictures and images). But regardless of form bad value work instruction need more time to good understanding and extend the time to complete the task [2].

The quality of work instruction[edit]

Instructions must be developed correctly and should reflect reality. The high quality of the work instruction is very important. Employees who have to use bad quality instruction are less productive. They have not job satisfaction. Bad information quality in enterprises can have a negative social and economic influence on an organizations. Bad quality work instruction have a negative effects for example lower customer satisfaction, high running costs and ineffective decision-making. Explorations let see that work instruction quality is an important problem in many companies. It has a fatal results such as many accidents. The study by Lind (2008) which analyze accidents in the Finnish industry. It show that there was 63 % of the disastrous accidents and 38 % of the no fatal accidents to faulty work instruction. High quality work instruction are unambiguous and complete. For example, work instructions that are ambiguous, incomplete or contain not clearly terms cause that the employees must guess or collect additional information to know what to do. So to summarize there are a few important problems about work instruction. It can be incomplete, ambiguous, unneeded, incorrect and too repetitive [3]. A good work instruction should contain:

  • a description of what needs to be done (main steps),
  • a description of how to perform the main step (tips),
  • a precise description of why a given thing should be done in a different way (reasons),
  • defined time to complete the individual main steps,
  • tools that should be used for a given main step,
  • pictures that show clues, not the main steps in the operation.

Instructions that meet the above conditions are called Standard Work Instructions.



  1. Chervak S. G., Drury C. G. 2003, s. 125
  2. De Jong A. J., Versloot B. 2006, s. 400
  3. Haug A. 2015, s. 171

Author: Weronika Cyganik