January 2019
Message From the President

Happy 2019! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I'd like to start the year off talking about Universal Design and applying it to the workplace, design of equipment/tools & workstations, etc. The 7 Principles of Universal Design were developed in 1997 by Ronald Mace working with a group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers while at North Carolina State University (NCSU ).

  • Principle 1: Equitable Use
  • Principle 2: Flexibility in Use
  • Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive Use
  • Principle 4: Perceptible Information
  • Principle 5: Tolerance for Error
  • Principle 6: Low Physical Effort
  • Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use
According to the Center for Universal Design in NCSU , the Principles "may be applied to evaluate existing designs, guide the design process and educate both designers and consumers about the characteristics of more usable products and environments." 

When a lot of people first hear about Universal Design, their first thought is trying to design for 100% of people is not possible and that this is just another accessibility standard. But as Universal points out, this is not the case because Universal Design focuses on improving the overall design of something by integrating accessible features throughout the overall design process rather than trying to modify the final design to fit a single user and/or group of users. 

As The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design (CEUD)  states: "An environment (or any building, product, or service in that environment) should be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it. This is not a special requirement, for the benefit of only a minority of the population. It is a fundamental condition of good design." This is how we should think about designing work environments, equipment or tools that are necessary to use to do the job. In order to not get too overwhelmed with the idea of applying these principles "to the work environment, consider the two-level approach recommended by the CEUD:
  1. "User-Aware Design: pushing the boundaries of 'mainstream' products, services and environments to include as many people as possible.
  2. Customisable Design: design to minimise the difficulties of adaptation to particular users."

One way you can start trying to apply these principles to your work environments is to use anthropometric data to help design workstations or when purchasing equipment/tools. If you can't measure your own worker population, review the article in the newsletter as to where you can find anthropometric databases that may be helpful to you in your efforts to design for a bigger percentage of the population.

As always, we welcome your suggestions and your continued efforts to get the word out about the Society by telling your friends and colleagues about AES.

Teresa A. Bellingar , AES President
AES Member Spotlight - Lora Cavuoto

Lora Cavuoto is an Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University at Buffalo.  Her research has focused on promoting healthier and more productive individual and work environments along two major streams: (1) understanding functional capacity and health with obesity; and (2) quantifying workload and exposures to risks in industry.  Within both of these streams, she has emphasized the effects of physical fatigue and how to identify when it results in changes to task performance.
Lora is proudest of her research contributions to the impact of work on overweight and obese individuals.  This is because identified risks for overexertion are primarily based on results from normal-weight individuals, but over two-thirds of the working population is overweight or obese.  Dr. Cavuoto's research has determined the extent of endurance differences based on obesity level for upper extremity muscles.  From these findings, she and her colleagues have started to develop and validate a set of predictive endurance time models for use by practitioners that better accommodate the current US workforce.
Lora believes that connecting with those in the Applied Ergonomics Society who conduct ergonomics activities will allow her to better understand industry's needs and to disseminate her research findings to those who can implement change.  This guides her advice to students and others, regarding the direct, positive impact ergonomics efforts have on workers' lives.  She has found that this profession has allowed her to use her creativity and problem-solving skills to identify meaningful solutions for challenging problems that may not have a direct answer. 
A critical part of Lora's upbringing was enjoying good food with family and friends.  As a result, this has been the motivation for two of her main hobbies now - baking and exploring new restaurants.
NIOSH Releases Its Strategic Plan for 2019-2023

Jobs that fuel the U.S. economy continue to change. Not only has a large portion of work shifted from manufacturing to the service sector, but many employees work longer hours or in a compressed schedule, or they perform part-time or temporary jobs. Employee demographics are changing as well, and most of us are aware of the "aging workforce."

As a result, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently updated its research and service goals for the next four years, which aims to best address these health and safety concerns. Two of the seven chosen goals are directly linked to the efforts of many who address ergonomics issues, and within these are specific objectives. These are outlined below.

NIOSH Goal: Reducing Occupational Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)
  • In the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries - develop a better understanding of the impact of vibration and repetitive motion exposures.
  • In manufacturing, construction, and trade industries - study the impact of workers using robots and exoskeletons.
  • In healthcare - evaluate the effectiveness of interventions aimed to reduce MSDs.
  • In mining - better identify risk factors for MSD development.
  • Among service industry jobs - increase the understanding of risks for back injuries.
  • In wholesale and retail trade - improve ability to reduce MSDs among older employees.
NIOSH Goal: Promoting Safe and Healthy Work Design and Well-Being
  • In construction and the services industry - study the impact of non-standard work arrangements.
  • In healthcare, mining, public safety, and in the transportation, warehousing, and utilities sector, as well as in wholesale and retail trade - improve understanding of the impact of work organizational factors.
NIOSH will largely be funding the health and safety research community to examine these issues. However, ergonomics practitioners can expect to see many new and exciting outcomes and solutions that arise in the near future from these efforts.

More details about NIOSH's Strategic Plan can be found online.
Profile: Winning Ergo Cup® Excellence Award for Presentation Quality - Johnson & Johnson

Achieving ergonomics improvements isn't just about performing accurate worksite assessments and implementing feasible solutions. A big part of ergonomics success is how an initiative is presented, especially to management and affected employees.

A group from Johnson & Johnson Vision demonstrated an effective strategy to accomplish this at the 2018 Applied Ergonomics Conference. Their efforts paid off, with an Ergo Cup® win for presentation quality.

The team's project was ERGO Moments, a program developed in-house, which focused on increasing employees' adherence to safe job procedures and educating them about ergonomics and the causes of musculoskeletal disorders. They achieved this through an employee engagement program, where the facility's ergonomics team worked with employees directly on the production floor, to raise ergonomics awareness. It also empowered these operators to identify tools and solutions within their work processes and find other means to improve their work conditions. Through this program, the facility greatly increased the number of safety improvements and drastically reduced their OSHA-recordable injuries.

At the conference, the Johnson & Johnson team used eye-catching graphics in their Ergo Cup booth, staffed it with dynamic presenters, and used other clever visual aids to effectively convey their project efforts and results.  Conference attendees responded, by selecting this entry as having the best presentation across all Ergo Cup entries.  Congratulations!

Locating the Right Anthropometric Data Set

Ergonomics projects often involve determining how well a product, work space, or piece of equipment matches the physical characteristics of users.  This requires use of anthropmetric data.  If you're not familiar with this term, anthropometry is simply the scientific study of human physical measurements and proportions.

Unfortunately, finding the most appropriate anthropometric data source(s) can be a daunting challenge, especially since any user group or worker population most likely varies considerably in terms of race, ethnicity, or gender composition. Further, after a source is selected, correctly interpreting the data can be challenging as well.

The library system at Canada's University of Alberta has done a commendable job of compiling various anthropmetric data sources. This list includes websites geared for the general human population and well as those specific to Asian, European, and U.S. sub-populations. Several of these data sources are interactive. Also provided are lists of anthro-related reference books, research articles, standards, and commercially available software. Collectively, these resources may help one navigate through the often confusing world of body size data and be more confident that the data are being applied correctly.

So, if you are searching for the appropriate body size database for your efforts, consider this resource as a good first stop in your hunt. However, keep in mind that available body size measures, collection methods, units of measurement, etc. vary from source to source, so be sure to read the details of each dataset.
New Applied Ergonomics Research

Interested in the latest applied ergonomics research? If so, check out recent study results submitted to   IISE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors:


Method for Developing a Side Impact Upper Neck Injury Criteria Which Compensates for Biomechanical Differences Between ATDs and Humans


Occupational Applications : We developed a method to convert between the upper-neck lateral impact accelerative responses obtained from a human and an anthropometric test device (ATD). This conversion allows developers to employ cost-effective methods for applying human-derived neck injury criteria to testing in accelerative environments utilizing ATDs while accurately compensating for biofidelic shortcomings of existing ATDs. This compensation allows accurate risk determinations to be made early in the development cycle for crash systems, including fighter aircraft helmets and ejection seats. READ MORE.

Human Factors Design in the Clinical Environment: Development and Assessment of an Interface for Visualizing Emergency Medicine Clinician Workload

Occupational Applications: Understanding and managing clinician workload is important both for the occupational health of clinicians and for the safety of patients. This study describes the integration of a new display concept for visualizing emergency medicine physician and nurse workload into a live electronic health record along with an investigation of patient-based drivers of clinician workload. We first present a novel display for visualizing and coordinating clinician workload that has been designed and tested using human factors methods. We then describe the implementation of this display into a live electronic health record. Next, we propose an algorithm of patient-based drivers of clinician workload needed for the display and present the findings of an initial study to validate this algorithm. Evaluation of the algorithm demonstrated that different clinicians have different ways of conceptualizing workload and more sophisticated mechanisms, such as big data mining and machine learning, may be necessary to produce a valid algorithm for calculating clinician workload. READ MORE.

Registration now open for the 22nd Annual Applied Ergonomics Conference

Join us for innovation, exploration and opportunities at the 2019 Applied Ergonomics Conference (AEC) taking place March 25-28, 2019, in New Orleans. Gain exposure to the latest developments, learn from industry leaders and connect with colleagues at your top industry event of the year.   Register now  for early-bird savings of $200 before Jan. 21!
New Opportunities This Year for AEC Conference Attendees

1. For the first time - we are offering the OSHA 10-hour course.  It starts on Sunday and continues to Monday.

2. We have added a city tour on Monday.  In the past - we had facility tours - this year we have added a tour of the city - great for folks who have not traveled to NOLA before and also for those who want to see something besides Bourbon Street.               
3. Offsite Event - We will be taking a cruise on the mighty Mississippi....a New Orleans Dinner Jazz Cruise on Tuesday, March 26. 
Note: This does require an additional fee - and that fee includes a 2 ½ cruise on the Creole Queen - and a dinner buffet with great jazz music - plus a great view of the city!
 Not an IISE member yet?   Join AES here.