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Reducing work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) through design: views of ergonomics and design practitioners

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journal contribution
posted on 18.11.2015, 10:08 by Himan K.G. Punchihewa, Diane GyiDiane Gyi
BACKGROUND: Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) affect the well-being of workers. Unfortunately, user requirements for design to reduce workplace risk factors for MSDs are not always effectively communicated to designers creating a mismatch between the user requirements and what is ultimately produced. OBJECTIVE: To understand the views of practitioners of design and ergonomics regarding tools for participatory design and features they would like to see in such tools. METHODS: An online questionnaire survey was conducted with a cohort of practitioners of ergonomics and design (n=32). In-depth interviews were then conducted with a subset of these practitioners (n=8). To facilitate discussion, a prototype integrated design tool was developed and demonstrated to practitioners using a verbalized walkthrough approach. RESULTS: According to the results of the questionnaire survey, the majority (70%) believed an integrated approach to participatory design would help reduce work-related MSDs and suggested ways to achieve this, for example, through sharing design information. The interviews showed the majority (n=7) valued being provided with guidance on design activities and ways to manage and present information. CONCLUSION: It is believed that an integrated approach to design in order to help reduce work-related MSDs is highly important and a provision to evaluate design solutions would be desirable for practitioners of design and ergonomics.



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PUNCHIHEWA, H.K.G. and GYI, D.E., 2015. Reducing work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) through design: views of ergonomics and design practitioners. Work, 53(1), pp.127-142.


IOS Press (© The authors)


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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