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Ergonomics action research II: a framework for integrating HF into work system design

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This paper presents a conceptual framework that can support efforts to integrate human factors (HF) into the work system design process, where improved and cost-effective application of HF is possible. The framework advocates strategies of broad stakeholder participation, linking of performance and health goals, and process focussed change tools that can help practitioners engage in improvements to embed HF into a firm's work system design process. Recommended tools include business process mapping of the design process, implementing design criteria, using cognitive mapping to connect to managers’ strategic goals, tactical use of training and adopting virtual HF (VHF) tools to support the integration effort. Consistent with organisational change research, the framework provides guidance but does not suggest a strict set of steps. This allows more adaptability for the practitioner who must navigate within a particular organisational context to secure support for embedding HF into the design process for improved operator wellbeing and system performance.

Practitioner Summary: There has been little scientific literature about how a practitioner might integrate HF into a company's work system design process. This paper proposes a framework for this effort by presenting a coherent conceptual framework, process tools, design tools and procedural advice that can be adapted for a target organisation.
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Keywords: ergonomics intervention; meta-ergonomics; organisational development; participatory macroergonomics; proactive ergonomics; work system design

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Human Factors Engineering Lab, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department,Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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