Due to the rapid technologic change, we see the role of manufacturing workers continuously changing: the increasing automation of manufacturing processes has reduced the amount of manual work, whereas the increasing complexity of manufacturing systems requires workers to build-up broader and deeper skills. In this paper, the authors suggest a participative knowledge management approach to empower manufacturing workers. Starting from a comprehensive empirical analysis of the existing work practices in a manufacturing company, the authors have developed and validated a knowledge management system prototype. The prototype is aimed for training, problem solving, and facilitating the discovery, acquisition, and sharing of manufacturing knowledge. The conducted evaluation of the prototype indicates that workers' skills and level of work satisfaction will increase since the knowledge management system allows faster problem solving by finding better solutions for observed defects.