Full Day Workshop

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How to Integrate Ergonomics into the Engineering Design Process


Judy Village & Patrick Neumann

Human Factors Engineering Lab, Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering,
Ryerson University



In this one-day workshop, participants will learn about how human factors/ergonomics can be effectively integrated into the engineering design process to improve not only worker health, but business performance. Participants will learn about HF and the industrialization process and various production design issues and strategies. They will also learn how to link HF to corporate strategies to gain support from senior management for HF. Ergonomists will be challenged to think about gaps in their understanding of engineering design language, tools and techniques and strategize to find ways to gain this information in order to work more effectively on a team with engineers. Common business improvement strategies such as “Lean” and “Six Sigma” will be discussed highlighting ways that HF can enhance these strategies. Several engineering design tools that have been adapted for HF will be presented (such as the failure mode effects analysis, and design for assembly). Participants will learn ways to work with engineering groups to adapt other engineering design tools and techniques to include HF.



Judy Village is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia and a Certified Professional Ergonomist in Canada and the US. She has more than 25 years of experience conducting research, consulting and teaching in musculoskeletal injury prevention. She earned her Ph.D. in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Ryerson University. The goal of her research, working with a large electronics company, was to work with engineers and human factors specialists to find ways to integrate human factors into design of their assembly production systems. Her publication in the Ergonomics Journal describing the three-year action research collaboration recently won the 2015 Liberty Mutual Award for the paper most advancing the field of ergonomics. She is currently employed with SCN Lavalin as a Human Factors Consultant to engineers in the Infrastructure Division.


Patrick Neumann is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering of Ryerson University. He holds a limited engineering license in Ontario, the European Ergonomist designation and a doctoral degree in design science from Lund University in Sweden. His research focuses on integrating human factors into the design and management  of operations for sustainable competitive advantage through improvements in productivity, quality and employee competence development.




Goal of Workshop


To help Ergonomists/Human Factors Specialists with integrating their knowledge into engineering design processes, and adapting tools and techniques to assist with this, to proactively prevent negative occupational health and performance outcomes.


Target Audience


Ergonomists, Human Factors Specialists, Engineers, Human Resources Personnel, Health and Safety Personnel


Workshop Level






Full day


Workshop Objectives


At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:



Workshop Agenda








  • Welcome & Round of introductions  (JV)


HF in Corporate strategy and the production system design (PN)






The design for human factors theory – what we learned at BlackBerry Ltd. about integrating ergonomics into the engineering design process (JV)


HF & Operations Management:  Tools & Approaches

Lean manufacturing and waste reduction, Basics of Six Sigma,

Flexible Manufacturing & Mass customization (PN)


Bridging Lean and HF at Blackberry Ltd.:  How it worked (JV)





What is the engineering design language in the companies you work with? (Interactive Exercise JV)

Interactive discussion: How can ergonomists learn about this and navigate in organizations?


Tools for Navigation:

Process Mapping for Design Process (PN)

Cognitive Mapping for Strategic Goals (JV)






Adapting engineering design tools to include ergonomics:

  • failure mode effects analysis (JV),
  • Interactive discussion: What factors affect Quality? (PN)
  • design for assembly (JV)
  • design for fixtures (JV)
  • kaizen


Interactive Discussion: How to adapt engineering design tools in an organization






Ergonomic design guidelines – types of guidelines, are they sufficient?


Question & Answer Session

Summary of lessons learned – take away messages for bridging ergonomics and engineering design


Workshop evaluation