Ergonomics & Design

February 6, 2020

How to Design Ergonomics into the Workplace

“Designing in” workplace ergonomics is viewed as an integral part of an effective ergonomics process.  Non-office workplace environments are constantly changing – and new ergonomics challenges […]
October 10, 2019

Leveraging Ergonomic Design Guidelines

Effective ergonomics processes emphasize both improvement and prevention – reducing ergonomics risks in existing operations while ensuring the ergonomics acceptability of new products and equipment.  Ergonomic […]
May 13, 2014

An Equation to Predict Maximum Acceptable Efforts for Repetitive Tasks

Researcher Jim R. Potvin has proposed an equation that could have significant impact on the way ergonomists estimate risk for repetitive tasks. Potvin performed a meta-analysis of various psychophysical studies (e.g., Snook et al) that looked at the maximum acceptable efforts for a variety of tasks. He found that Duty Cycle, essentially the percentage of a job cycle that force or torque is exerted, can be used to predict maximum acceptable force and torque efforts.
April 2, 2014

Applied Anthropometry Improves Fit

Anthropometry is a primary consideration in ergonomics, yet is often misunderstood and misapplied in the design of equipment and systems. In this example of why ergonomics is not always "common sense," guest contributor Bruce Bradtmiller, a leading anthropometry expert, explains why it's important to understand the complexity of anthropometry, and provides an explanation of one technique called multivariate accommodation modeling (MAM) using principal component analysis (PCA). Sound complicated? Bradtmiller cuts through the complexity and provides a simplified understanding that will make you appreciate anthropometry in a new way next time you sit in a chair or glance into the cockpit of an airplane as you board. Creating a good fit is not as easy as some might think.
February 5, 2014

Review of Hand/Wrist/Arm Ergonomics Analysis Methods: Part 1

Peter Budnick reviews and summarizes a chapter from "Reviews of Human Factors and Ergonomics" in which researchers Arun Garg and Jay Kapellusch provide an overview of the scientific basis and application of "Job Analysis Techniques for Distal Upper Extremity Disorders". In Part 1 of this 2 part series, Budnick covers the scientific basis for various analysis tools (to be discussed in the forthcoming Part 2) and summarizes specific data that ergonomists can use in the analysis and prevention of hand/wrist/arm workplace musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs).
July 31, 2013

Origins of Active Furniture Design

When Jack Kelley began his career as a furniture designer in the 1960s, he had never heard of ergonomics. Few furniture designers had. Interviewed for The Ergonomics Report
January 30, 2013

Thumb Reach Distances and Envelopes for Handheld Devices

Applied researchers Otten, Karn and Parsons where tasked with designing a handheld consumer camera requiring thumb operated controls. They were surprised to find that very little data was available for such devices, so they embarked on a collaborative research and design project to collect their own data, which they later shared in the published journal Human Factors. Peter Budnick reviews their work, describing it as a good example of "informed design," which he describes requiring an ergonomic, human-centered approach. The researchers also used novel techniques to collect thumb reach distance and envelope data, and also applied the "Mr. Potato Head" method to investigate control location preferences.