WorkSafe | Pickled!

Creating a safety culture at work.

Using gamification to change the way we think about risk in the workplace.


New Zealand has one of the highest rates of workplace fatalities in the OECD.

As an employer, it can be hard to engage your team in health and safety education. Traditional teaching methods are often technical, paper-based and require a lot of reading - which does not suit all learning styles or environments. So, there’s a risk that important information falls through the cracks. WorkSafe wanted to find a way to help key messages stick and encourage workers to discuss risk and take action.


Disrupting tradition through game-based interactions.

To transform health and safety education into something more engaging (and fun!), we collaborated with WorkSafe, their educational partner - Synapsys, and other literacy and learning experts. By leveraging existing research into workplace personas, we created a set of vegetable avatars and a series of online games called Pickled!

Co-designed with our target worker demographic, we used both game structure and mechanics to break down complex concepts and present them in bite-sized chunks (also known as ‘micro-learning’). Established language patterns and rules prioritise visual learning over reading, removing barriers for low literacy and ESL (English as a second language) learners.

Repetition is used as a way to teach and encourage instinctual responses to a variety of health and safety situations. And, to retain interest and encourage continued gameplay we used humour - building out relatable character details, and exaggerated reactions.

On the tech side, the architecture is scalable and mobile friendly. Body Moving and Lottie (a Javascript library) remove reliance on heavy video files or GIFs to display games and character animations. The site is underpinned by Amazon Webservices with a bespoke Laravel CMS allowing content and assets to be managed by administrators.


Learning outcomes that resonate with workers.

Alongside game and platform development, we also led the path-to-market strategy and execution for Pickled! We launched a digital campaign focused on demonstrating the unique benefits of the tool to potential advocates who could bring the tool into their workplace.

Over 13,000 individual games have been played since launch in August 2020, with users playing around 1.8 games per session.

Pickled! is currently undergoing an external evaluation with a third-party research company. Early results confirm that learning outcomes are being delivered, with particularly promising results for ESL and low literacy workers.