Fitting ergonomics to the engineers


Megan Mekitiak, Michael Greig, and W. Patrick Neumann

Key messages

10 Tips for Working with Engineers

  1. Learn the “culture” in the engineering department.
  2. Introduce human factors in a way that complements existing practices.
  3. Acknowledge differences in perspective and use ‘perspective-swapping’ to help designers consider both human and technical aspects of a project.
  4. Ensure management support and encouragement for engineers’ ergonomics efforts and successes.
  5. Connect to quality and productivity goals to win buy-in for ensuring ergonomics is included in design.
  6. Help engineers understand how ergonomics helps control their legal liability as well as the gains offered by going beyond the legislative minimum.
  7. Raise the profile of ‘workplace design’ and help establish company design standards and criteria.
  8. Introduce ergonomic checkpoints to create accountability and ensure inclusion in the process.
  9. Establish regular ergonomic feedback (on both successes and failures) for engineers.
  10. Create organizational support for engineers when applying their ergonomics training.

Implications for the prevention of MSD

MSD prevention starts with design decisions. Engaging with engineers early in design projects has many financial and worker health benefits. For success, ergonomists need to be aware of how to interact with engineers, support and align with engineering expectations, goals and work processes to maximize the application of ergonomics. Ergonomic change thus needs to be approached ergonomically. Doing so removes barriers to ergonomics, improves work design and reduces MSD risk.

Do you want to visit this resource?
CRE-MSD Position Paper (2 page PDF)