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Woldemar Tikhonov
Woldemar Tikhonov

Work Design: Occupational Ergonomics



Beginning with WORK issue 59:1 (February 2018) an occupational ergonomics section appears in selected issues. This special section appears in four to six issues yearly and will focus on covering a variety of occupational ergonomics topics including, but not limited to: prevention of work-related musculoskeletal injuries, task analysis, work design, occupational accidents, cognitive engineering, disability management, legal issues and the modeling of physical/mental stress at work. Emphasis will be on reflection of the recent increase in health and safety in the workplace and related job redesign requirements.




Work Design: Occupational Ergonomics


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Occupational ergonomics is a multidisciplinary perspective for promoting safety and health through effective work design. In modern times, ergonomists collaborate with other occupational health professionals to design jobs that fulfill the three most important qualities of humans: capabilities, limitations, and requirements. The objective of occupational ergonomics is to build a safe and healthy environment for workers which, in turn, will enhance productivity.


There are three major ways of occupational ergonomics: physical, cognitive, and organizational. Through these ways, this distinctive domain contributes not only to organizational success, but also to worker satisfaction and security.


Based on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) definition, occupational ergonomics can be simply the study of work. More specifically, ergonomics is the science of designing the task to fit the worker, rather than physically forcing the worker's body to fit the job.


This site was created to provide basic information useful for employers, workers and others in designing an effective ergonomics program to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). It outlines practical strategies for identifying and correcting ergonomic deficiencies in a variety of workplace settings. Defining key elements of an effective program, the site allows you to tailor the information to your particular work setting or situation. It also provides a number of useful materials including references, sources for further information, and generic forms and questionnaires.


WMSDs are costly and can significantly reduce worker productivity and morale. Workers suffering from MSDs have difficulty meeting the demands of their jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statisticsexternal icon reported 31% (356,910 cases) of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in 2015 were related to MSDs. The median days away from work for a WMSD is 12 days, compared to eight days off for other work-related injuries. Ergonomics programs enable employers to detect WMSD problems and develop solutions[1]. This approach prevents further losses in productivity, quality, and profit by lowering rates of absenteeism, lost time injury, and worker compensation premiums.


The Occupational Ergonomics and Biomechanics (OEB) Laboratories conduct work in theoretical and applied ergonomics, occupational biomechanics, and work physiology, primarily relating to worksite, workstation, and equipment evaluation and design. Specifically, research is focused on:


Intended for students with a potential interest in ergonomics or human factors. The course surveys the design of work, the workplace environment, information systems, and consumer products. Topics include musculoskeletal disorders, manual materials handling, workplace design, organization of work, design of human/machine interfaces, environmental ergonomics, industrial design, and legal and social issues. Students with credit for BPK 180 may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


This introductory course is intended for all students with a potential interest in ergonomics, occupational therapy or physical therapy and is a requirement and pre-requisite for those wishing to take higher level ergonomics related courses and/or complete the Occupational Ergonomics Certificate. This course will enable the student to understand how the application of ergonomic principles can create safer, healthier, more productive, and more satisfying environments. BPK 180W surveys major ergonomic and human factors issues including: the design of work, the workplace environment, information systems, and consumer products. Note that this course is a pre-requisite to other courses in the ergonomics certificate and is designated as a W course.


Ergonomics is an approach or solution to deal with a number of problems. Bottom line is that occupational ergonomics is about designing the work to fit the worker. It is one approach used by employers to prevent employees from developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). 041b061a72


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