You are on page 1of 5


Look to gain overview of ergonomics. Exam might ask for general understanding of
ergonomics at this stage of our career, rather than expertise in ergonomic theory and
principles, and application.

Competencies Related to Ergonomics as Outlined in Kinesiology Core Competency


● Demonstrate understanding of the appropriate use of ergonomic assessments and

tools. (17)
● Able to identify, select, develop, and prescribe intervention strategies to maintain,
rehabilitate, or enhance movement and performance based on assessment findings.
● Able to make recommendations for task and/or job modification and accommodation
based on assessment of the demands of the workplace and evaluate effectiveness.

● Two primary focus points of ergonomics are reduction of (physical) stress and
reduction of error
● Posture, load, and repetition (frequency) are the three factors considered in
ergonomic assessment
● Look to remove risk factors completely with the use of engineering controls
● Eliminate manual materials handling in work whenever possible

Ergonomics Design Philosophy

● Employ ergonomics problem-solving technique:
1. Identify jobs with ergonomics opportunities
2. Define job demands
3. Identify risk factors by body part for each task of concern
4. For each risk factor, ask why it is present until dead end is reached
5. Develop strategies for how to address the root causes and generate at
least three solutions for each task of concern
6. Choose solution(s) that will substantially reduce ergonomic concern
and is financially viable
● Ergonomists look to change work environment, task or way work is organized
● Focal point for ergonomists is the human-machine (or work) interface; how
these elements interact?

Evaluation of job demands

● Job demands examined in three different time frames; in-the-moment, short period
(minutes to hours), longer period (days to years)
● Look to analyze relationship b/w physical demands of work and human capacity
(physiologically and biomechanically)
● Characteristics of time frame of work and effect on human body
Time Frame Physiological/Biomechanical Effect

In-the-moment Muscle strength and biomechanics

Short Fatigue is greater than muscle strength;

local muscle fatigue or whole-body
fatigue (consider effort, effort time, and
recovery time)

Long Work-related musculoskeletal

disorders (wMSDs)

● Evaluation methods consider primarily ​force, posture, and frequency (or

repetition)​, very similar to the Ontario MSD Prevention Outline
● Use qualitative analysis to screen jobs (I.E., job safety analysis or checklist)
● Semiquantitative and quantitative methods used for more problematic jobs

Theories and Principles

● Important to consider whether a posture is passive or active, and if the
posture is active, what type of stress it exerts on the system
● Postures that do not have direct support against gravity (above/below) other
arrangements of body parts (I.E., posture) is likely to require active muscle
effort to maintain, in addition to resistive forces from ligaments and other soft
● Awkward postures for prolonged period of time can induce physiological strain

● Posture ​plus​ external load, same principles apply but with additional forces
and moments introduced

● Highest force is developed when wrist is in neutral
● Grasping (power grip) generates the highest amount of force compared to
pinching grips
Key consideration:​ when evaluating job tasks that involve gripping, look for
wrist deviation and type of grip used

Physiological Effects of Static/Dynamic Work

● Characteristic outcome of static work is localized muscle fatigue
● Characteristic outcome of dynamic work is whole-body exhaustion (through
cardiopulmonary means)

Analysis methods
● Job safety analysis (JSA), loose structure that relies on experience
● Job hazard analysis (JHA), more structure in the identification of hazards, included is
a checklist of hazards that are considered

● Both represent analysis of the job in physical (anatomical and physiological) and
psychological domains

Semi-quantitative methods
● Kodak MSD Analysis Guide (MAG) and Kodak MAG looks at MSD risk
factors, prioritize them for further action, I.D. root cause, determine
appropriate job modification (similar to I. Ergonomics Design Philosophy)
● Rodgers Muscle Fatigue Assessment (MFA) assesses fatigue of various work
patterns in 5 min work period; best suited for awkward postures or frequent
exertion, gauges risk of fatigue
● Liberty Mutual Materials Handling is for manual materials handling; I.E.,
lifting/lowering, carrying, pushing and pulling
● University of Utah Back Compressive Force Model; estimates back
compressive force
● Qualitative or semi-quantitative would be most efficient methods for an
ergonomist when severity of risk factors of a job aren't clear
● Why dive into a quantitative method (which are more resource-intensive) if the
risk factors are minor and can be resolve through qualitative/semi-quantitative

NIOSH lifting equation; designed for manual materials handling where both hands
are used equally, lifting tasks with similar loads, origins, and destinations
● Calculates Recommended Weight Limit (RWL) and Lifting Index (LI);
maximum amount of weight that should be lifting, and relative estimate of
physical stress, respectively

Equipment design
Overall considerations:
● Appropriately allocate tasks to people or machines
● Design equipment within capabilities of people in order to optimize
● Functions typically allocated by:
○ Physical demands
○ Sensory and information processing demands
○ Safety considerations
○ Feasibility and costs

Tool design
● User-tool interface should be considered, can dictate neck and upper extremity
posture; elbow or shoulder abduction can contribute to static muscle fatigue
● Stabilize and adopt most effective postures when possible
● Consider noise and vibration
● Two-handled tools introduce risk of pinching (like a plier)
● Postural stress and muscle fatigue during tool use

○ Common posture is abduction of elbow, or raising to get above part being

worked on, usually an outcome of using inline tool on horizontal work surface
instead of right-angle tip or hand with 19-degree bend
● Muscle fatigue is often an outcome of not being able to relax between line items, I.E.
constantly holding on to tool

SOLUTION:​ Reduce static loading and muscle fatigue of neck and upper
extremity by:
○ Using tool balancers or tension reels where possible to give upper
extremity rest
○ Tool holster if walking is part of job demand, hose reels should be
used to eliminate tripping hazard
○ Attach tool holder to front of machine where work is done to provide
quick and easy access

Human Reliability and Information Transfer

In contrast to the topics mentioned above, ergonomics in the context of human reliability and
info transfer attempt to ​reduce risk of injury through reduction in errors in human
performance​, rather than design of workplace, equipment, work, etc.
● Assess potential for human error (human reliability) and methods to minimize
common course of error (information transfer)
● Reliability: probability that any item will perform a specified function for given time
under specific conditions
● Human reliability: probability of successful human performance on a job or task in
any stage of system operation(s) under a given time parameter
● Human performance reliability: probability that the human will fulfill a given task under
specified conditions
● HRA: used to I.D. potential areas of high risk, quantify the overall risk, and indicate
where and how improvements should be made to the system
● Human error probability (HEP): actual errors divided by opportunities for errors to
● HRAs include: Techniques for Human Error Rate Prediction (THERP), Success
Likelihood Index Methodology (SLIM), Human Error Assessment and Reduction
Technique (HEART) [EASY TO USE], Absolute Probability Judgment (APJ)

Work design
● Design work to reduce risk of MSD through use of​ engineering controls​,
administrative controls, personal protective equipment
● When possible always use engineering controls, followed by administrative controls,
and then personal protective equipment
● Organizational factors that affect the way work is done and how much control
workers have over their work patterns and performance
● Gives rise to the term "macroergonomics"
● Workers, stress management professionals, ergonomists

● Suggests that there are many factors outside of equipment, workplace design, etc.,
that can affect the way work is done
● List of factors are large in number a vary, I.E., workplace stressors,
● For example, if prospect of career growth is poor, how is it going to affect the
individual's performance at work? Will they be inclined to adhere to practices related
to information transfer? Or risk error and disruption of the system?
● Manual handling in occupational tasks
● "Removed non-value-added operations from the production line"
● Manual handling is major non-value-added part of most production lines
you have to use your muscles means you are at risk of injury
○ Unit load, mechanization, standardization, adaptability, dead weight, gravity,
automation UMSADGA U.M.A.D.G.A.S.