From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Live from the IEA 17th World Congress on Ergonomics

I’m fortunate to be attending the 17th World Congress on Ergonomics this week in Beijing, China. The conference is dedicated to “Change, Challenges and Opportunities”, with a focus on the transition of ergonomics from research to practice — a theme very near and dear to Ergoweb. The conference is presented by the International Ergonomics Association (IEA, and sponsored by the Chinese Ergonomics Society. Today I attended the opening ceremonies, which featured lighter fare including traditional Chinese drumming and a red ribbon dance, but also laid out what promises to be an interesting week of collaboration and growth for the field of ergonomics. The opening included representatives from the International Organization for Standardization (ILO), the International Commission of Occupational Health (ICOH), the International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the World Health Organization (WHO), demonstrating the ties IEA has developed over its 53 years of existence.

IEA is a federation of ergonomics societies from 42 countries, representing over 20,000 individual members worldwide. The IEA is growing, and welcomed 9 new societies in just the past 3 years, all from Industrial Developing Countries (IDCs).

The organizers shared some of the conference highlights, including:

  • The launch of WEAR, described as a worldwide anthropometry database
  • EQUID (Ergonomics Quality In Design), a design process standard for product design
  • The Future of Ergonomics, a focus on moving ergonomics from research to practice by cooperation with business
  • Professional Certification – Who, Why and How
  • 99 Second Sessions, allowing participants 99 seconds to voice their thoughts on specific topics
  • The ILO/IEA launch of “Ergonomic Checkpoints”, an easy to understand pictorial tool designed to communicate ergonomics concepts to people of all backgrounds and regions
  • A WHO/IEA initiative to develop an MSD (Musculoskeletal Disorder) toolkit

There’s a lot of energy at this conference. It’ll will be a busy week, and the number of topics covered by conference presenters are far too many for one person to see, let alone digest and write about, but I’ll try to post summaries of topics that I think will interest Ergoweb readers. Keep an eye on the Ergoweb Forums discussion and collaboration area of, where I’ll publish my updates. I’ll be especially interested in topics with practical implications, as well as topics you, our readers, have already expressed an interest in.

Be sure to mark your calendars for the next IEA World Congress, which will be held in February 12 – 16, 2012, in Recife, Brazil.