From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Industrial Ergonomics programs seek to identify and
correct factors that negatively impact the physical health of their workers.
Participatory ergonomics programs seek to maximize
the involvement of the workers in this process based on the simple
fact that a worker is an expert on his or her job. The
participatory approach to ergonomics relies on actively involving
workers in implementing ergonomic knowledge, procedures and changes
with the intention of improving working
conditions, safety, productivity, quality,
morale and/or comfort.
Implementing a participatory ergonomics program in the
In order to determine if an ergonomics team/committee is right for a workplace, five
factors need to be considered.
A successful participatory ergonomics program requires initial and
continuing resources and support from the top levels of management within the
organization. The resources required include:
- time for the program to develop
- time to develop and implement solutions
- financial resources to make meaningful changes in the
- management support for the individuals on the ergonomics
committee should be composed of 6 to 8 people with the right mix of
skills including technical or engineering knowledge, worker
knowledge and input from an ergonomics expert. Successful, sustainable
participatory ergonomics programs have an individual on the
committee who takes on a leadership or "ergonomics champion" role
Training principles and
methods are central to the success of the participatory ergonomics
process. Three major aspects of training should be considered early
in the process of implementing a participatory ergonomics program.
Initial training in ergonomics for committee members should include ergonomics
concepts and tools. Training on topics such as meeting and project
management may be beneficial, depending on the past experience
of committee members with committee work and implementing change.
Additionally, it is important for the workforce as a whole to gain
an understanding of ergonomics to improve their support for the
participatory ergonomics process ().
The research literature contains limited discussion of the
effect of the organization’s characteristics (culture) on the
success of a participatory ergonomics intervention. The
organizational climate and the timing of the introduction of the
program can affect the outcome. Integrating the participatory
ergonomics program into existing health and safety
programs can increase the chances of success ().
Involving the workforce
committee needs to respond to expectations about the ergonomics
program. It is imperative to gain support or "buy in" from the
workforce as most will not be directly involved with the ergonomics
committee. The ergonomics program needs to be visible within the
organization; this can be accomplished by ensuring that there is a
focused effort to communicate with the workforce and by involving
key stakeholders in all changes that are investigated and
- ^ Cole, D., Theberge, N.,
Granzow, K., Frazer, M., Laing, A., Wells, R., & Norman, R.
Participatory process in organizational interventions for injury
prevention. Proceedings of the Fifth interdisciplinary
conference on occupational stress and health.
- ^ de Looze, M. P.,
Urlings, I. J. M., Vink, P., van Rhijn, J. W., Miedema, M. C.,
Bronkhorst, R. E., & van der Grinten, M. P. (2001). Towards
successful physical stress reducing products: an evaluation of
seven cases. Applied Ergonomics, 32, 525-534.
- ^ a
Granzow, K., Theberge, N., Cole, D., Frazer, M., Laing, A., &
Wells, R. (2002) Negotiating workplace participation: Notes on a
collaborative effort among labour, management and university
researches to implement a participatory ergonomics process.
Proceedings of the Canadian Anthropology and Sociology
- ^ a
Nagamachi, M. (1995). Requisites and practices of participatory
ergonomics. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics,
- ^ a
St-Vincent, M., Chicoine, D., & Simoneau, S. (1998). Les
Groupes Ergo: Un outil pour prévenir les LATR. St-Leonard,
Quebec: Institut de recherche en sante et en securite du travail du
- ^ a
Theberge, N., Granzow, K., Cole, D., Laing, A., & Ergonomic
Intervention Evaluation Research Group (2004). Negotiating
participation: Understanding the 'how' in an ergonomic change team.
- ^ a
Wilson, J. R. (1995). Ergonomics and Participation. In J.R.Wilson
& E. N. Cortlett (Eds.), Evaluation of Human Work: A
practical ergonomics methodology (Second ed., pp. 1071-1096).
London: Taylor & Francis.
- ^ Haines, H., Wilson, J.
R., Vink, P., & Koningsveld, E. (2002). Validating a framework
for participatory ergonomics (the PEF). Ergonomics, 45,
- ^ a
Kuorinka, I. & Patry, L. (1995). Participation as a means of
promoting occupational health. International Journal of Industrial
Ergonomics, 15, 365-370.
- ^ Wells, R., Norman, R.,
Frazer, M., Laing, A., Cole, D., & Kerr, M. (2003)
Participative Ergonomic Blueprint. (http://www.iwh.on.ca/system/files/documents/pe_blueprint_2003.pdf)
- ^ a
Dixon, S. M., Theberge, N., & Cole, D. (2005) The ergonomist
has left the building: Sustaining a participatory ergonomic
program. Proceedings of the Association of Canadian Ergonomists
Annual Meeting - Charting the Human Factor.
- Wilson, J. R. & Haines, H. M. (1997). Participatory
ergonomics. In G.Salvendy (Ed.), Handbook of Human Factors and
Ergonomics (pp. 490–513). United States of America: John Wiley