Target Audience:

All levels including:

Individuals responsible for the design and/or injury control of industrial manufacturing or assembly operations. Including plant managers, process engineers, manufacturing engineers, product designers, EH&S personnel and lean leaders. Vendors or suppliers of industrial equipment would also benefit from the definition of ergonomic workstation and product specifications.

Applicable Topic Areas:

Construction, Engineering, Ergonomics, Government, Health, Human Behavior, Industrial Hygiene, Insurance, International Safety, Loss Control, Management Skills, Manufacturing, Risk Management, Safety Management, Standards, Training/Education, Workers Compensation


To design the workplace for ergonomics efficiency requires a standard set of references and guidelines that engineers can identify with. Job design criteria compatible for implementation in lean manufacturing & six-sigma environments are presented. An emphasis is placed on maximizing work potential by designing to the safe limits of human capacity. This is accomplished using the applied principles of ergonomics and biomechanics. Case studies will be presented demonstrating how effective ergonomics design will result in measurable boosts to productivity and quality.

This session covers the following:

  • Establishing thresholds of human capacity

  • Getting the engineering group's budget & buy-in

  • Identifying and measuring opportunities for productivity gain

  • Product and process design for manufacturing

  • Defining and implementing ergonomics design specifications

  • Job design case studies & six-sigma opportunities

Learning Objectives:

Attendees will leave this session with:

  • Familiarity with the techniques and methods available to objectively measure ergonomics efficiency in the workplace

  • Familiarity with the guidelines and thresholds that product, process and ergonomics engineers can use to assess tools, equipment, workstations and employee technique.

Overview: Ergonomics Design for Productivity & Profit

A fundamental principle of ergonomics is to optimize the design of work and equipment in relation to the biomechanical, physiological and psychological capabilities of people. The objective is to achieve measurable gains in human production efficiency while reducing ergonomics risks. When accomplished, the benefits can be measured in dollars.

To achieve success, human capabilities must be understood and well documented. Without the proper human design criteria an engineer cannot be expected to achieve an effective ergonomic design.

While certain specifications may be applied in a generic sense, a company's performance can be significantly enhanced by establishing thresholds based on the nature of their work. For example, many ergonomics design criteria were developed by the automotive industry to meet the relatively short cycle times (typically less than 1 minute). These criteria may be too limiting for a process with longer cycle times and more diverse work tasks.

Case Study: Major Computer Manufacturer (available in full paper).

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