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It’s (Still) National Ergonomics Month

Monday, October 24, 2016

October 2016 is the 13th anniversary of National Ergonomics Month (NEM), designated by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society as a time to highlight the work of human factors/ergonomics (HF/E) professionals toward bettering the lives of people around the world.

Some of the diverse areas receiving significant recent HF/E contributions to the design, test, operation, maintenance, and sustainability of products, tools, systems, and environments for human use include the following:

  • Patient safety, including the design of medical devices, guidance regarding handoffs and other procedures, facility design, and home care

  • Robotics and artificial intelligence

  • Security and cybersecurity, including intelligence analysis, and airport screening

  • Surface and air transportation, including autonomous and semiautonomous vehicles, driver assistance systems, driver distraction, commercial aircraft systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

NEM has inspired a variety of activities by students and professionals in local communities. Groups participating in NEM Action Plan contests have implemented their plans through a variety of creative outreach endeavors that emphasize the contributions of HF/E science and practice through teaching, learning, networking, service, and fun!

Recent Best Action Plan winners have developed and are working to implement projects that include the following:

  • Georgia Tech is conducting a The Bad Design Atlanta competition to encourage members of the Atlanta community to spot instances of bad design in their area. The group offers suggestions for addressing poor designs through the application of HF/E principles.

  • Wichita State University’s HFES student chapter offers Senior Wednesday and HF/E Day at Exploration Place Science Center. Members host two HF/E focused days, one to educate children and their guardians about the principles of HF/E design, and the other, in partnership with the Regional Institute of Aging, geared toward senior citizens.

  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University hosts the Engaging Retail to Grasp Opportunity (ERGO) action plan, in which the group analyzes warehouse environments and provides training for employee self-protection on the job.

For these groups, the activities outlined in the action plans extend throughout the year to ensure that members of the community know how important HF/E is in the creation of safe and useable, products, technologies, and systems.

In honor of National Ergonomics Month, HFES is offering limited-time free access to all the Society’s journals and proceedings.

Visit the NEM Web page to find out how you can help spread the word about how HF/E makes the world a more user-friendly place.

This article was prepared by Elizabeth Phillips and Joseph Keebler, HFES National Ergonomics Month Committee; and Karen Jacobs, Chair, HFES Outreach Division.

‚ÄčThe Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is the world’s largest scientific association for human factors/ergonomics professionals, with more than 4,500 members globally. HFES members include psychologists and other scientists, designers, and engineers, all of whom have a common interest in designing systems and equipment to be safe and effective for the people who operate and maintain them. “Human Factors and Ergonomics: People-Friendly Design Through Science and Engineering.”