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In search of ergonomics expertise

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posted on 2013-02-28, 14:33 authored by Claire Williams
In order to achieve the title 'Registered' or 'Certified', ergonomists undergo lengthy training and certification processes to demonstrate their membership of the profession. However, there has been little study to date on what skills, in particular, are required to be expert as an ergonomics advisor. There is some opinion that the 'softer' skills (such as active listening and empathy) which are key to client-advisor relationships do not generally form part of ergonomics taught courses, whereas the 'harder' knowledge content and technical skills do. Furthermore, in some ergonomics arenas (particularly in the physical domain) other non-ergonomist professionals such as Health and Safety Advisors, Occupational Health Advisors and Physicians, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, and Specialist Fumiture Suppliers, also apply ergonomics principles. Rather than the tertiary ergonomics education of the ergonomists, many of these other professionals will undertake short course ergonomics training or leam 'on the job'. This begs the question 'will they all be delivering the same 'product', containing the same message, of the same quality and with the same goals?' In other words, are there qualitative and quantitative differences in ergonomics expertise between ergonomists and others in the field?...



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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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