The Ergonomics Report

May 9, 2012

Rehabilitation Ergonomics in Action

Don Bloswick, a professor in in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Utah, shares a variety of creative rehabilitation ergonomics applications he and his students have developed, including a tricycle designed to provide leg exercises for children with Cerebral Palsy (CP); an off-road walker allowing children with CP greater outdoor mobility; a wheelchair track device that allows wheelchair users to navigate on sand, snow and other rough terrain; foot and arm-lever propelled wheelchairs; and a paragliding system for people with disabilities. If you think ergonomics is only about preventing musculoskeletal injuries, this will open your eyes to new horizons.
April 25, 2012

Improving the Occupant Experience in LEED Buildings: It’s Time for Ergonomics

Guest contributors Linda Miller and Lucy Hart provide an update on the emergence of ergonomics as a points category in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building rating system. Over a decade ago, a coalition of building industry leaders in the U.S. created building design and construction guidelines for the environmental assessment of buildings. The LEED Building Rating System is a voluntary, consensus-based standard that evaluates the environmental performance of a building over its entire life cycle. The primary goal of LEED is to promote building practices that are environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy for its building occupants, and Miller and Hart explain how ergonomics is gaining a solid footing in the LEED rating system.
April 4, 2012

Review: A Strategy for Human Factors/Ergonomics as a Discipline and Profession

The Future of Ergonomics Committee, under the direction of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA), has published a report summarizing a strategic initiative for the world-wide promotion of the ergonomics discipline and profession in order to reach global excellence in HFE (human factors and ergonomics). The report does a nice job of summarizing the field of ergonomics, and specifies numerous specific values we can and should produce. Ergoweb's Peter Budnick reviews the report and offers his opinions.
March 14, 2012

Effective Office Ergonomics

Many of us have the daily challenge of helping employees get their best fit at work so they can resolve musculoskeletal discomfort and become more productive. Recent research, and much experience, tells us that simply providing equipment with ergonomic features may not be enough. In this reprint from The Ergonomics Report, Gene Kay provides practical, actionable advice for office ergonomics practitioners.
March 7, 2012

Research: Measuring Slip Potential for Walking Surfaces

In this study University of Alberta, Canada based researchers Osis, Worobets and Stefanyshyn set out "to examine ground kinetics early in stance while walking on a contaminated surface and assess the potential of kinetics to quantify risk of slipping." The authors indicate that previous research has focused primarily on what is referred to as the utilized coefficient of friction (UCoF) between the floor surface and the foot/shoe interface. This study, which focused on the very early stages of a slip, immediately following heel-strike, suggests shear force may be a better measure, and therefore predictor, of a slip/fall accident.
March 1, 2012

Applying Ergonomics to Improve Care Quality and Safety in Hospitals

Researchers developed a problem reporting system framework that dramatically improved the number and quality of problem reports, allowing the hospitals to better understand and address patient, staff and process problems rooted in human factors/ergonomics. This article, reprinted with permission from The Ergonomics Report, reviews the research and summarizes the application benefits for hospitals that take the same or a similar proactive improvement approach.
February 9, 2012

Study: Tablet Use Causes Significant Head and Neck Flexion

Touch screen tablet or slate computers are becoming ubiquitous and are being widely used for both work and recreational purposes. Because the input (touch) is integrated with the display (screen) users are experiencing different biomechanical strain than with traditional desktop computing. In this reprint from The Ergonomics Report Archives, contributor Gene Kay reviews a 2012 Harvard study that looks at head and neck postures common to tablet computer use, and concludes with some ergonomic recommendations for practitioners.
January 31, 2012

Successful Strategies to Prevent Prolonged Disability for Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)

In this article, originally published in The Ergonomics Report, guest contributor Iuliana Nastasia summarizes the results of an extensive review of the scientific literature related to return to work following a work-related musculoskeletal disorder (WRMSD). It's no secret among ergonomics practitioners that a small portion of injured workers account for a large portion of workers compensation burden, and an effective return-to-work process is essential to controlling those costs. In this article, Nastasia reviews the key findings and identifies 5 key strategies for success in preventing prolonged disability in workers compensated for WRMSDs.
January 25, 2012

The Trouble with RULA (Rapid Upper Limb Assessment)

RULA (Rapid Upper Limb Assessment) is an assessment method often discussed and applied by occupational ergonomists. In this article, reprinted from The Ergonomics Report Archives, Ergoweb's Peter Budnick reviews the popular method, recognizing its strengths, but also noting that it has limitations and can be -- and perhaps often is -- horribly misapplied, misrepresented, and misinterpreted without adequate training, experience, and professional perspective.
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