KAN, the German organisation concerned with health and safety issues relating to European harmonised standards, has published English versions of the teaching resources that is has commissioned to help designers learn about ergonomics. These are all available as free downloads from www.ergonomics-teaching.eu.
Machine designers need to take ergonomics into account whenever there is a possibility of interactions between humans and machinery, whether for operation, setting, maintenance or any other activities. In practice, ergonomic thinking is often not sufficiently developed among designers because it has been neglected or covered inadequately during their training.
A guiding principle is that the machine should be designed to suit the operator, rather than the operator having to adapt to the machine. Ease of use is also an important criterion in the selection of a particular machine, since a machine that is well adapted to its human operator can reduce the physical stress and, therefore, absences from work. It can also shorten processing times, making the production process more efficient.
Educational resources for ergonomics
KAN has commissioned a set of material for use primarily by lecturers but, needless to say, designers can also benefit by studying it. Note that particular use has been made of the knowledge of ergonomics contained within standards. The material focuses on machinery and plant, though much of it can also be applied to other sectors.
Included within the material are video clips and case studies, exercises and test questions. There are also references to more detailed literature.
Follow the link to find out more and to download the educational resources relating to ergonomics for machine builders: www.ergonomics-teaching.eu.