Obituary: William Thomas Singleton, an ergonomics pioneer
I never had the opportunity to meet Professor Singleton, but was nevertheless sad to hear of his death. A quick google search will show he was an important contributor to our field. Here are a few excerpts from an obituary in the Northumberland Gazette, titled Family man who was a pioneer in his field:
A family man who pioneered ergonomics and believed in fitting the job to the person has died aged 86.
A leading figure in his field, Professor William Thomas Singleton, of Front Street, Rothbury, was internationally known for his enduring interest in human skill.
But most of all he was a family man who doted on his wife of nearly 60 years, Pam, children and grandchildren.
His son Stephen … paid a fitting tribute to his father.
He said: "He was a great family man who just happened to have an internationally famous academic career. But his main thing was his family.
"He was a thoughtful, quiet person who kept himself to himself."
Read the full obituary …
Thank you for your significant contributions, Professor Singleton. May you rest in peace.
The Foundation for Professional Ergonomics Announces the Dieter W. Jahns Student Practitioner Award
I know Dieter Jahns, another ergonomics pioneer who passed away some years ago, would have been very proud to see this (and I’ll bet Professor Singleton would have been happy, as well).
The Foundation for Professional Ergonomics (FPE) has initiated the Dieter W. Jahns Student Practitioner Award. The award, named in memory of Dieter W. Jahns, a life-long advocate of the practice of Ergonomics and a leader in Ergonomics Certification, is an annual award and is given to the student (or group of students) for an Ergonomics project that demonstrates the major practice areas of Ergonomics: Analysis, Design, and Evaluation.
The purpose of the award is to advance professionalism in Ergonomics by recognizing educational activities that demonstrate how professional ergonomists serve to make our lives at work and at home healthier, safer, more productive, and more satisfying. This award is open to students (M.S. or Ph.D.) in Ergonomics and Ergonomics-related programmes. Students who have completed their graduate degrees in the past year are also eligible. Please go to www.ergofoundation.org for complete details on criteria and format.
Submission deadline is June 30, 2010, with notification on July 31, 2010, and the award presentation on September 28, 2010. The Award and cash prize of $500 (US) will be presented at the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE) Reception during the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) Annual Meeting, September 27-October 1, 2010, in San Francisco, California, USA.
Submissions can be made individually or as a group. They should provide adequate descriptions, illustrations or photos, and details that address the judging criteria. Go to www.ergofoundation.org for complete details.
An Ergonomist Rediscovers Ergonomics Through Macroergonomics
In a forum/blog for NOSHCON, a southern Africa occupational risk conference, Steve Krile posted an entry titled At Heart, I’m still an Ergonomist.
Over the last 18 years of my career, I have done just about every type of industrial ergonomics work you can imagine …
After gathering all that field experience I graduated to a broader view – looking at the systems that need to be in place to ensure that ergonomics can be properly implemented at all levels of the organization. For a while all I did was ergonomic training for every type of industrial player: human resources, HS&E, quality, engineering, maintenance, product designers, and the list goes on.
He then describes a career change that led him down a path to computer programming, but comes back around to this:
I had an Epiphany. Actually, the epiphany came at a conference. During the conference, a professional ergonomist whom I respect deeply said two words that I had never considered together before: macro ergonomics.
It was like someone tapped the middle of my forehead and whispered, "no, you are not a programmer – you are an ergonomist." You see, the real goal of ergonomics is constantly choreographing a delicate waltz between humans, systems, requirements, and technology …
Welcome back, Steve!
This summertime and beer inspired video from Moosehead pokes gentle fun at ergonomics:
Ergonomic design, or designed to keep you away from your outer self?
… you see, modern office seating forces your head forward, trapping blood in the front of the brain, where the outer self can’t thrive …
… your outer self is calling, you just have to listen …
Watch the video …
I’m often amazed at the subjects people choose to blog about. In this case, Patrice Shortridge wrote an article titled Drinking in Comfort With Gas Lift Bar Stools, in which she talks about the need for ergonomics, and the role of gas cylinder bar stools in particular. I’m not entirely sure whether her article is tong-in-cheek, or if it’s for real, but if you have time and interest, you be the judge.
We like comfort … Yes, we like comfort. We like it anywhere we can find it, and while tipping our mugs at the local pub, we find comfort in a gas lift bar stool.
While her understanding of ergonomics is somewhat limited, and maybe a bit confused, she does hit a few things right:
One of the foundations of ergonomics is the mantra that “one size does not fit all.” Choosing a bar stool that is comfortable and adjustable is a concern that falls under this mantra. There is more to ergonomics, however. In a bar, an ergonomical system would also include the beer and plate of buffalo wings set on the table. Similarly, the gas lift bar stools you can sit on, the bar in front of you, the television raised behind the bar, and even the bar itself form part of the ergonomical system.
Read the full article …