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Introduction to Ergonomics and Human Factors

Sections: 1. Overview of Ergonomics 2. Human-Machine Systems 3. Topic Areas in Ergonomics

Why Human Factors?

Ergonomics Injuries in the US 1998 OSHA:
Mayo Clinic applying Human Factors principles developed for Aeronautics:

Human Factors
The goal of Human Factors is making the human interaction with systems one that: Enhances performance Increases safety Increases user satisfaction Human factors involve the study of factors and development of tools that facilitate the achievement of these goals.

Human Factors
Human Factors is the systematic application of relevant information about human capabilities, limitations, characteristics, behavior, and motivation to the design of things and procedures people use and the environments in which they use them. (Sanders & McCormick, 1993)

Human Factors
Human Factors also involves the evaluation of the things we design to ensure that they satisfy their intended objectives. (Sanders & McCormick, 1993)

Human Factors
According to Alphonse Chapanis, Human Factors discovers and applies information about human behavior, abilities, limitations, and other characteristics to the design of tools, machines, systems, tasks, jobs, and environments for productive, safe, comfortable, and effective human use. (Sanders & McCormick, 1993)

Human Factors
Human Factors focuses on human beings and their interaction with products, equipment, facilities, procedures, and environments used in work and in everyday living. The emphasis is on human beings and how the design of things influence people. (Sanders & McCormick, 1993)

Human Factors
Human Factors seeks to change the things people use and the environments in which they use these things to better match the capabilities, limitations, and needs of people. (Sanders & McCormick, 1993)

Physical and Cognitive Demands

Most work activities require a combination of physical and cognitive exertions

From: Work Systems and the Methods, Measurement, and Management of Work by Mikell Groover.

An applied scientific discipline concerned with how humans interact with the tools and equipment they use while performing tasks and other activities Derived from the Greek words ergon, meaning work, and nomos, meaning laws The word ergonomics was coined by British scientist K. F. H. Murrell and entered the English language in 1949

Human Factors
Human factors is synonymous with ergonomics Ergonomics emphasizes work physiology and anthropometry Europe industrial work systems Human factors emphasizes experimental psychology and systems engineering U.S. military work systems

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors

Objectives in Human Factors / Ergonomics

Greater ease of interaction between user and machine Avoid errors and mistakes Greater comfort and satisfaction in use of the equipment Reduce stress and fatigue Greater efficiency and productivity Safer operation Avoid accidents and injuries

Methods Engineering vs. Ergonomics

Emphasis in Methods Engineering Efficiency Cost reduction Labor reduction Workplace layout Facility layout Elimination of waste One best way Emphasis in Ergonomics and Human Factors Safety Comfort Interaction between human and equipment Workplace environment Fitting the work to the individual Reduction of human errors Accident avoidance

Ergonomics Application Areas

Work system design Objectives: safety, accident avoidance, improved functional performance Also includes environment such as lighting Product design Objectives: safety, comfort, user-friendly, mistake proof, avoidance of liability lawsuits

Ergonomists What They Do

Research on human capabilities and limitations Discover the characteristics of human performance, e.g., how much can an average worker lift? Design and engineering applications Use the research findings to design better tools and work methods

Fitting the Person to the Job

Considers workers physical and mental aptitudes in employment decisions For example, using worker size and strength as criteria for physical work Common philosophy prior to ergonomics FPJ is still important For example, educational requirements for technical positions

Fitting the Job to the Person

Opposite of FPJ Philosophy: design the job so that any member of the work force can perform it Why the FJP philosophy has evolved: Changes in worker skill requirements Demographic changes (e.g. more women in the workforce) Social and political changes (e.g., equal opportunity laws)

Changes: 1930 and 2000

1930 Total U.S. Population Life expectancy Median age Number of people age 65 and over Proportion of women in the labor force a Source: U.S. Census Bureau 123 million 60 years 27 years 7 million 24%

2000 281 million 77 years 35 years 35 million 61%

From: Work Systems and the Methods, Measurement, and Management of Work by Mikell Groover.

Human-Machine Interactions

From: Work Systems and the Methods, Measurement, and Management of Work by Mikell Groover.

Human-Machine Systems
Basic model in ergonomics Defined as a combination of humans and equipment interacting to achieve some desired result Types of human-machine systems: 1. Manual systems 2. Mechanical systems 3. Automated systems

System Components
The human The equipment The environment

Human Components
Human senses - to sense the operation Vision, hearing, touch, taste, and smell Human brain - for information processing Thinking, planning, calculating, making decisions, solving problems Human effectors - to take action Fingers, hands, feet, and voice

Machine Components
The process function or operation performed by human-machine system Displays - to observe the process Direct observation for simple processes Artificial displays for complex processes Controls - to actuate and regulate the process Steering wheel, computer keyboard

Environmental Components
Physical environment Location and surrounding lighting, noise, temperature, and humidity Social environment Co-workers and colleagues at work Immediate supervisors Organizational culture Pace of work

Human-Machine System

From: Human Factors in Engineering and Design by Sanders and McCormick.

Human-Machine Systems

From: Human Factors in Engineering and Design by Sanders and McCormick.

Topic Areas in Ergonomics

Physical ergonomics Cognitive ergonomics The physical work environment Occupational safety and health

Physical Ergonomics
How the human body functions during physical exertion Physiology vital processes carried out by living organisms and how their constituent tissues and cells function How physical dimensions of the body affect capabilities of worker Anthropometry physical dimensions of the human body

Cognitive Ergonomics
Concerned with the capabilities of the human brain and sensory system while performing information processing activities Human cognitive processes include: Sensing and perception Use of memory Response selection and execution

Physical Work Environment

Visual environment Lighting levels and workplace design Auditory environment Intensity and duration of noise Climate Air temperature, humidity, air movement, and radiation

Occupational Safety and Health

Occupational safety concerned with the avoidance of industrial accidents One-time events that cause injury or fatality Occupational Health concerned with avoiding diseases and disorders caused by exposure to hazardous materials or conditions Develop after prolonged periods of exposure May take years before symptoms reveal the onset of the malady

Human Factors Scope

From: An Introduction to Human Factors Engineering by Christopher Wickens, John Lee, Yili Liu, and Sallie Gordon Becker

Human Factors Scope

Human Factors Engineering Ergonomics Human Engineering Engineering Psychology (Sanders & McCormick, 1993)

Human Factors Scope

Ergonomics focuses on the aspect of human factors related to physical work, such as lifting, reaching, stress, and fatigue.

Human Factors Scope

Engineering Psychology vs. Human Factors Human Factors focuses on system design accounting for the physical and psychological properties of the human component. Engineering Psychology focuses on understanding the human mind as is relevant to the design of systems.

Human Factors Scope

Cognitive Engineering focuses on the complex, cognitive thinking and knowledge-related aspects of system performance, whether carried out by human or machine agents, the latter dealing closely with element of artificial intelligence and cognitive science.

Ergonomics is the application of scientific principles, methods, and data drawn from a variety of disciplines to the development of engineering systems in which people play a significant role. (Kroemer, Kroemer, & Kroemer-Elbert, 2001)

Among the basic disciplines are psychology, cognitive science, physiology, biomechanics, applied physical anthropometry, and industrial systems engineering. The engineering systems to be developed range from the use of a simple tools by a consumer to a multiperson, sociotechnical system. (Kroemer, Kroemer, & Kroemer-Elbert, 2001)


From: Ergonomics How to design for Ease and Efficiency by Kroemer, Kroemer, and Kroemer-Elbert.

Human Factors Cycle

From: An Introduction to Human Factors Engineering by Christopher Wickens, John Lee, Yili Liu, and Sallie Gordon Becker

Human Factors Cycle - Analysis

We need information regarding: Physical body: size, shape, and strength. Mind: information processing characteristics and limitations. Physical and/or information systems. Analysis tools: Task analysis. Statistical analysis. Incident/accident analysis.

Human Factors Cycle - Design

Equipment design changes the nature of the physical equipment with which humans work. Task design focuses on changing what operators do. This may involve assigning part or all tasks to other workers or to automated components. Environmental design implements changes in the physical environmental conditions, such as lighting, temperature, or noise.

Human Factors Cycle - Design

Selection recognizes that systems performance can be optimized by selecting operators who posses the best profile of characteristics for the job. Training focuses on better preparing the worker for the conditions that he or she will encounter in the job environment by teaching and practicing the necessary physical or mental skills.

Human Factors
Human Factors Basics
Human Factors Spectacles
Final Note on Human Factors: UC Human Factors VPP Lab

Freivalds, A. and Niebel, B. (2009) Niebels Methods, Standards, and Work Design. Twelfth Edition. McGraw-Hill Higher Education. Groover, M. (2007) Work Systems and the Methods, Measurement, and Management of Work. Pearson Prentice Hall. Kroemer, K., Kroemer, H. and Kroemer-Elbert, K. (2001) Ergonomics How to design for Ease and Efficiency. Second Edition. Prentice Hall. Sanders, M. and McCormick, E. (1993) Human Factors in Engineering and Design. Seventh Edition. McGraw-Hill. Wickens, C., Lee, J., Liu, Y. and Gordon Becker S. (2004) An Introduction to Human Factors Engineering. Second Edition. Pearson Prentice Hall.

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