The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4216.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 3:36 PM

Abstract #49323

Work organisation: Why is it missing in many ergonomic solutions?

Dorothy Wigmore, Labor Studies Programme, McMaster University, KTH 717, 1280 Main St. W., Hamilton, ON L8S 4M4, Canada, 905-525-9140 x 27781,

A commonly-used popular education approach to ergonomics training is based on four main questions: where does it hurt? what makes it hurt? how do you find it? how do you fix it? Participants place markers on body maps and use their own words to describe the causes of the aches and pains. They are asked to place their answers to "What makes it hurt?" in five risk factor categories: posture, force, repetition, work environment and work organisation. These first steps are fun, illuminating and a way to integrate workers' knowledge with researchers' findings and occupational health practitioners' vocabulary. Usually, there's no disagreement that work organisation is at the centre of these causes and that it overlaps all the other factors. But when workers devise solutions for a risk factor they have identified, they seem to forget this discussion; instead, they usually focus on physical changes, dismissing other possibilities. This demonstration will take participants through the first two questions, leading them to a discussion of why it is difficult to "see" and include work organisation issues in proposed solutions to ergonomic problems, and what changes can be made to curriculum using this approach.

Learning Objectives:

  • By the end of the demonstration, participants will have

    Keywords: Ergonomics, Workplace Stressors

    Related Web page:

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

    Popular Education for Workers H&S: Analysis of Past, Innovations and Challenges for the Future (Part 1)

    The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA