In Summary - Ergonomist
The Work - Ergonomist
Ergonomists use their knowledge of science and technology to improve people's working and living environments. They aim to help people live and work safely, comfortably and efficiently. They achieve this by making sure that equipment, machinery and environment are suited to the people who use and interact with them.
For example, in car design, ergonomists contribute to a reduction in the number and severity of road accidents, by changing vehicle design to improve the safety of the driver and passengers. An ergonomist may study cars and car components that have been involved in an accident to see how they have withstood the impact of the crash. They also study the human body, to see how it responds to different crash situations. This helps ergonomists to design new safety features. They may also study accidents involving children's car restraints.
Ergonomists understand how humans behave and react in certain situations. They apply this knowledge to the design process. There is a strong link between ergonomics, good design and our health and safety. Ergonomics is therefore useful in a wide range of areas.
In business, commerce and industry, ergonomists improve working conditions and make them safe. For example, they may help to design an aircraft's flight deck. They make sure the flight deck is suitable for the pilots' size, workload and general working requirements; they need to be able to reach all the instruments quickly and easily.
Ergonomists might also be involved in changing the design of a computer workstation, so that people who use them are less likely to develop postural and visual fatigue problems. Other ergonomists study how people cope with working in either very hot or very cold temperatures.
Ergonomists also look at the equipment and machinery we use in the workplace, and suggest ways to improve it. They may redesign the layout of an office and help choose suitable furniture. When the office is set up, they may look at the way people use the equipment and suggest some changes, such as altering the height of a typist's chair. In this way, ergonomists help people to avoid problems such as back injuries and injuries through over-use.
As well as working in commerce and industry, some ergonomists design products that people use in their everyday lives. For example, they may design
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Design or evaluate human work systems, using human factors engineering and ergonomic principles to optimize usability, cost, quality, safety, or performance.
- Collect data through direct observation of work activities or witnessing the conduct of tests.
- Conduct interviews or surveys of users or customers to collect information on topics such as requirements, needs, fatigue, ergonomics, or interfaces.
- Prepare reports or presentations summarizing results or conclusions of human factors engineering or ergonomics activities, such as testing, investigation, or validation.
- Recommend workplace changes to improve health and safety, using knowledge of potentially harmful factors, such as heavy loads or repetitive motions.
- Assess the user-interface or usability characteristics of products.
- Review health, safety, accident, or worker compensation records to evaluate safety program effectiveness or to identify jobs with high incidents of injury.
- Perform functional, task, or anthropometric analysis, using tools such as checklists, surveys, videotaping or force measurement.
- Advocate for end users in collaboration with other professionals including engineers, designers, managers, or customers.
- Conduct research to evaluate potential solutions related to changes in equipment design, procedures, manpower, personnel, or training.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Interests - Ergonomist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
As an ergonomist, you will use knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, psychology, mathematics and statistics, design methods, work organisation and industrial sociology. You need good communication skills and an analytical approach to problem solving. You must be able to work as part of a team, because ergonomists work closely with designers, engineers, architects and operational researchers. A creative ability and an imaginative nature are very helpful in this career.
Entry Requirements - Ergonomist
Pay & Salary - Ergonomist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 28k - 50k
Entrants: 28 - 35
Experienced: 35 - 50
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.