The International Ergonomics Association defines ergonomics or human factors as follows:
Ergonomics & human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.
Based on these definitions and the fact that more banks and other federally regulated industries, departments and agencies are coming under scrutiny by the Treasury Board, Human Rights Complaints, WCB claims and civil suits; it is critical for federally regulated employers to A. understand the University level education of an Ergonomist B. understand the science based approach taken with ergonomic assessments and design C. determine who the Ergonomic experts are your location and commence a collaborative partnership with experts to ensure your ergonomic programs are doing what, by law, they are supposed to do.
Your department would not undertake a forensic financial audit of your department in the absence of a Forensic Accountant; your Facility Manager won’t consult with a Plumber about an electrical problem. Ergonomic issues are scientifically quantified, accurately and efficiently, by expert Ergonomists. Ergonomists are not massage therapists, nurses or an employee who attended a short course in basic ergonomic theory. Ergonomists who are experts have a minimum B.Sc. in Ergonomics and posses at least 3 years of varied experience in a number of different types of work environments.
Arbitrators, the Treasury Board of Canada and Human Rights lawyers lean towards having experts in the field determine jobs with hazards and make recommendations to ameliorate or control these hazards and risks. Qualified external ergonomists will provide objective data to Federal Employers and will stand by their recommendations in these forms and hearings.
Module 1; Guide to the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Injuries
Federal Labour Program
Section 19.4 of the Regulations
The employer shall identify and assess the hazards in the work place, including ergonomics-related hazards, in accordance with the methodology developed under section 19.3 taking into account
- the nature of the hazard;(a.1) In the case of ergonomics-related hazards, all ergonomics-related factors such as
- the physical demands of the work activities, the work environment, the work procedures, the organization of the work and the circumstances in which the work activities are performed, and
- the characteristics of materials, goods, persons, animals, things and work spaces and features of tools and equipment;
- the employees’ level of exposure to the hazard;
- the frequency and duration of employees’ exposure to the hazard;
- the effects, real or apprehended, of the exposure on the health and safety of employees;
- the preventive measures in place to address the hazard;
- any employee reports made under paragraph 126(1)(g) or (h) of the Act or under section 15.3; and
- any other relevant information.
To learn more about the science of ergonomics and how to find a bona fide ergonomic expert check out our previous entries in our Blog or contact us at INFO@optimalperformance.ca