Josie Blake, CCPE
How long have you been an ACE member?
How did you first become interested in ergonomics?
During my undergrad at University of Waterloo, I did two co-op terms in ergonomics at a poultry processing facility. I had some really great mentors that were really passionate about ergonomics and showed me how, when done well, ergonomics can make a big difference in the workplace!
What didn’t you learn in school that you wish you had?
Thanks to my co-op program, I feel like I was fairly well prepared when it finally came time to start working as an ergonomist. However, I don’t seem to remember learning much about how important interpersonal and communication skills are when you’re trying to gather information, and brainstorm solutions with people at all levels within a company.
What is your favourite aspect of being an ergonomist? What is your favourite aspect of being involved in ergonomics?
I love the variety: Working in many different industries, meeting lots of interesting people, working with employees at all levels of the company from the frontline workers to upper management. More specifically, I love being able to provide workers with the tools and resources that they can use to make their own jobs better. If I can share a “quick tip” or technique that I’ve seen other workers use to make their job more efficient, prove why it’s “ergonomic” and then share with other workers to help make their day easier, that brings me some good satisfaction. It’s even better if I’m able to convince workers who think or say “there is no way ergonomics applies to my job” that yes, their job can, in fact, be ergonomic!
What do you see as the biggest opportunity for ergonomists in the future?
Taking advantage of innovative technology that will help us do our jobs in the field quicker (collecting more information in a shorter amount of time), more accurately, and allow us to produce reports that help decision-makers to clearly and quickly see the impact of making ergonomics improvements.
What advice would you give to a student or young professional starting out in ergonomics?
Always be asking questions! As ergonomists, we need to have great interview skills to get the information we need from workers to make useful and feasible recommendations for improvement. But, also don’t be afraid to ask questions to your supervisors, the supervisors and managers of the jobs you are assessing, and people you look up to.