Full Day Workshop

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:

  • Explain why ergonomics is typically left out of the engineering design process
  • Describe typical design processes for how work is organized
  • Describe ways to integrate ergonomics into the engineering design process based on the design for human factors (HF) theory
  • Explain key principles of lean manufacturing and how HF can be integrated into lean
  • Use tools to navigate the corporate strategy (cognitive mapping) and the design process (process mapping)
  • Show how other engineering tools can be adapted to include ergonomics (such as failure mode effects analysis, and design for assembly)
  • Provide ergonomic design guidelines and other information to engineers in a format that is most effective for their use


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



Half Day - AM - Workshop


Assessing HF Capability in Organisations:

Identifying new opportunities to benefit from ergonomics


Michael Greig & W. Patrick Neumann

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

Don Patten, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services


Assessing HF Capability in Organisations:

Identifying new opportunities to benefit from ergonomics


Michael Greig & W. Patrick Neumann

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

Don Patten, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services


This half-day workshop focuses on improving the ability of attendees to assess the extent to which an organisation is capitalising on ergonomics in their routines. Participants will learn the principles and application of a novel organizational assessment method: the Human Factors Integration Tool (HFIT). The method allows companies to quantitatively assess their organization for its level of World Class maturity of HF capability and integration. It can open new doors for applying ergonomics in organisations and help monitor progress as companies improve their ergonomics related processes across the firm. The reasoning behind the method and the approach itself will be presented and discussed. Participants will be invited to exchange insights on how evaluations at the organisational level can help them achieve deeper implementation of HF in their organisations, and find new ways to help ergonomics contribute to organisation success in terms of both improved employee wellbeing and better work system performance. Attendees will be encouraged to discuss the pros and cons of their experience with HF audits. The session will highlight the importance of measuring the level of HF integration, the potential impact of HF beyond health and wellbeing and demonstrate how HF can impact other functions in an organization.



Half Day - PM - Workshop


Ergonomics-informed, Forensic Approaches to Falls Related to Built Environments

Half-day workshop at the Association of Canadian Ergonomists (ACE) Annual Conference, Niagara Falls, ON

led by Jake Pauls, CPE,* Consulting Services in Building Use and Safety, Toronto


Background: This workshop follows up a session-length presentation, at ACE2015 in Waterloo, by Jake Pauls: “Stairway Usability and Safety: What ergonomists should know about the critical state of the nexus of public health, ergonomics and law in Canada and the USA.” The entire presentation is available as a 38-minute, streaming video at:  Pre-workshop viewing of this and other videos at this link, as well as at, makes it possible to keep the proposed workshop a half-day session rather than a full-day session and still permit significant time for informed discussion. The other videos focus, in state-of-the-art detail, on the two main sites of design/construction-related fall injuries: those related to stairways and those related to bathing, showering and toileting. These categories are responsible for annual societal injury costs, in the USA and Canada, on the order of $200 billion, a staggering societal toll that might be better appreciated when expressed on a per-hour basis—about 20 million dollars per hour for the USA and Canada.


Goals: Beyond the goal of appreciating the epidemiology and very high societal costs, the goals of the workshop are to:

  1. Increase the competence of participants in understanding the etiology (causes) of such missteps and falls;
  2. Follow up by improving abilities to intervene in their prevention;
  3. Until that is achieved, equip ergonomists and others to investigate, document and report on such incidents in a state-of-the-art, professional fashion that is needed for competent forensic services applied in post-falls litigation proceedings, and;
  4. Apply such appreciation, prevention and analytical skills to the place where we are most vulnerable, our own homes—the place where societal controls (such as from building and housing codes) are least applied due to design, construction and legal conventions.


Thus, a major objective for the workshop is bring together a range of disciplines concerned with falls—the leading cause of nonfatal injuries. These include professionals with a wide range of roles including research, education, practice (with responsibilities for built environments design, construction, regulation, facility management; public health responses including nursing and EMS; etc.) and injury incident investigation plus related expert services in forensics. A key underlying assumption here is that ergonomists must become more relevant to much more than occupational settings which, heretofore, have been a prime focus of ACE (but not, to the same extent, some other national ergonomics associations).


This workshop comes after a series of one-day and half-day workshops around the world, over the last four decades, organized (and/or presented) by Jake Pauls, for a wide range of disciplinary contexts including ergonomics, public health, fire safety, architecture, engineering, and building regulation. Over the last decade alone, such workshops have been held in Canada, USA, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, United Arab Emirates, UK and Germany with shorter form (paper) presentations in these countries and others, notably the UK which hosts, in London, an international conference on falls on October 4-5, 2016.


* Jake Pauls is a Certified Professional Ergonomist (since 1993), member of ACE, HFES and CIEHF plus many other professional and technical organizations, member of about 15 national codes and standards committees (mostly in the USA), and author of many publications in peer reviewed and other contexts including trade publications (all listed in his 24-page Professional Biographical Summary). He has over 50 years of international technical and professional experience in construction, research, consulting—including forensic investigations plus documentation, and public health advocacy focused on built environment issues. To advance and recognize work by others in built environment codes and standards development, he initiated a new funding program and award at the Canadian Public Health Association in 2015. In 2014, after 26 years working from a US base, following 20 years of research at NRC Canada, he set up his main office in Toronto. His work continues on a growing international scale, but with a renewed focus on Canadian building codes which lag well behind US ones addressing fall safet