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Recent experiences in using participatory methods for ergonomic workplace improvement are reviewed to know how these methods can be effective in different settings. The review covered participatory programmes for managers and workers in small enterprises, home workers, construction workers and farmers in Asian countries. To meet diversifying ergonomic needs, participatory steps reviewed are found to usually follow a good-practice approach easily adjustable according to local needs. These steps are found to usually focus on low-cost improvements. They can thus lead to concrete results particularly by addressing multiple technical areas together. Typical areas include materials handling, workstation design, physical environment and work organization. Further, the review confirms that the participatory methods are always modified according to each local situation. This is done by developing a group-work toolkit comprising action checklists and illustrated manuals and by building a support network of trained trainers. It is suggested that participatory methods taking a good-practice approach by multi-area low-cost improvements through the group use of locally adjusted toolkits are effective for improving small-scale workplaces including those in developing countries.