From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Ergonomics Roundup: Poultry Industry Successes; Chair Controversy; iPad and Gesturing; New OSHA and NIOSH Resources; Michigan Ergo Standard; Surgeon MSDs


Report: Ergonomics progress in the poultry industry

This report chronicles the methods and results of 25 years of effort to reduce musculoskeletal injuries in the poultry industry, documenting a steady decline in injury rates. It’s impressive.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the poultry industry have declined 75% during the past 25 years, according to a recently released report.

It chronicles the progress and successes the US poultry industry has experienced in ergonomics and subsequent decrease in workers’ musculoskeletal disorders.

Read the full article and access the data …

Injuries evolve along with new gadgets

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

The introduction of Apple’s new iPad has raised awareness of ergonomic concerns in the popular media. Here’s one example:

Smart phones and laptops, handheld video games and MP3 players, and now, perhaps, Apple’s new iPad – the latest technology is great, but it is also a literal pain in the neck, doctors say.

And not just the neck, either. All these newfangled gadgets also are hurting our backs, shoulders, arms and hands. The kids are suffering from "text thumb" and their parents are getting "BlackBerry neck."

"I have a lot of patients who come in and say my mom is 80 years old, I’m 50, and I’ve got more pain than her," said Dr. Srinivas Ganesh …

Read the full article …



Salli Creates a Stir

A picture of a female sitting on a Salli split-seat chair on the cover of a recent issue of the European based Ergonoma Journal is apparently causing quite a stir. According to a follow-up email sent by the Journal’s editor, Nicole Peyronnet Le Martin:

The front cover picture of Ergonoma Journal No. 18 has created some controversy. We are a professional and technical magazine, and as such we published on the cover of this issue a technical picture demonstrating the importance of a two parts saddle-chair for the health of the human anatomy. We are therefore extremely shocked by the few reactions of prudery and intolerance that we have received. As a woman and chief editor of Ergonoma Journal, I am deeply shocked how women, some of which read my articles since almost six years, have assumed that I would have accepted a "sexist", "pornographic" and other irrelevant qualifiers front cover picture.

Did people overreact to the picture? You be the judge. You can find it, as well as a statement from Salli defending it, at


Luna Ergonomics

I don’t know who Abhijit Bhattacharjee is, but I was pleased to see him featured as an entrepreneur for his company, Luna Ergonomics:

Not often do you come across such an intresting venture like Luna Ergonomics which developes new usability technologies that allow users to type in all languages of the world on their existing phone!

… they have developed CleverTexting for the global family of languages for all the major eleven languages of India and for English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, French, Russian, Hebrew, Swahili and Finnish. Abhijit says "Our technologies use statistical nature of languages to make a prediction about what the user is likely to type next. The technologies are not only applicable for the mobile but also for offering regional language capability on the PC, web, ATM, STB, TV remote, touchscreen kiosks etc."

Read the full article …


OSHA releases workplace injury and illness information

Every year since 1996 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has collected work-related injury and illness data from more than 80,000 employers. For the first time, the Agency has made the data from 1996 to 2007 available in a searchable online database, allowing the public to look at establishment or industry-specific injury and illness data.

OSHA uses the data to calculate injury and illness incidence rates to guide its strategic management plan and to focus its Site Specific Targeting (SST) Program, which the agency uses to target its inspections.

Read the full article and access the data …

NIOSH Releases Construction Ergonomics Guidance Spanish

Soluciones Simples – Soluciones ergonómicas para trabajadores de la construcción (NIOSH Pub. 2007-122/SP 2009), a Spanish-language guide to help employers and workers find and use effective ways to prevent job-related musculoskeletal injuries in the construction industry, is available from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

The booklet includes background information regarding ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders from a construction industry perspective, and 20 two-page tip sheets that describe currently available tools and equipment that may help reduce physical stresses to the body that can lead to job-related musculoskeletal injuries.

Read the full article and get copies …



Survey finds many surgeons suffer injuries from minimally invasive techniques

I’ve wondered how long it would take for this problem to surface, and now here it is. Surgeons are finding ergonomic challenges with laparoscopic surgery tasks and equipment:

Surgeons who engage in minimally invasive, laparoscopic surgery are providing great benefits to their patients, but possibly to their own detriment. That’s the finding of the largest survey ever conducted of surgeons in North America who perform laparoscopic procedures. The survey, developed at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, found that 87 percent of laparoscopic surgeons have experienced physical symptoms or discomfort. This was especially true among those with high case volumes. Previous surveys had found only a 20-30 percent incidence of occupational injury among these surgeons.

Read the full press release …


Gesture Research
Source: HumanCentric and International Usability Partners

The introduction of the iPad and the popularity of the futuristic movie Avatar is bringing gesturing — computer interaction through body movements — to the forefront. I came across this research blog dedicated to the subject. They’ve already posted 4 parts to their gesturing research; this introduction is from part 1:

340 people defined their own touchscreen-based gestures for 28 actions (like scroll, rotate, cut, copy, paste) across 9 countries, totaling over 9,500 gestures.  What can we learn from this?

A lot.

Some believe we have entered a new era in interaction design.  For many years we’ve been using the mouse, pointstick, touchpad, and of course, the keyboard.  A new interaction convention is gaining popularity now that makes use of the whole human body.

This is the first in a series of blogs about gesture research conducted by the International Usability Partners (IUP) …

Read the full blog …



Apple’s introduction of the iPad continues to create ergonomic concerns among technology bloggers. I haven’t seen one yet, but here’s a video that shows a user editing a presentation on an iPad. Gesturing. Are we ready for this new style of computer interaction (see research on gesturing in the "RESEARCH" section, above)? Take a look — what do you think of the ergonomics of this new device?

See the iPad video …



Michigan’s Ergonomics War Set to Resume
Source: OH&S

We were ready to do an update on the ongoing debate over Michigan’s proposed ergonomics standard when we saw this recent analysis by Jerry Laws.

The war over Michigan’s proposed ergonomics standard is heating up again, with a regulatory impact statement and an economic analysis of the standard nearly finished. The next steps are approval by Stanley Pruss, director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth, and then possibly three public hearings held around the state, Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration Director Doug Kalinowski said Jan. 28. The department is MIOSHA’s parent agency.

Read the full article …