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The Ergonomics of Healthy Working Environments Tertiary Education Facilities Managers Association Dr Verna Blewett Director, New Horizon Consulting Pty.

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Presentation on theme: "The Ergonomics of Healthy Working Environments Tertiary Education Facilities Managers Association Dr Verna Blewett Director, New Horizon Consulting Pty."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Ergonomics of Healthy Working Environments Tertiary Education Facilities Managers Association Dr Verna Blewett Director, New Horizon Consulting Pty Ltd Visiting Research Fellow, University of Adelaide

2 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations A picture of FMs… (TEFMA website 2006) Our members have responsibility for planning, capital works, design and construction, maintenance, cleaning and landscape services, environmental management, lifts, energy management, engineering services, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, lighting, safety, training, hazardous materials management, and financial planning for infrastructure. Their responsibility for campus services includes Security (both physical and personal), and depending on the institution, may include timetabling, mail, transport, stores, catering, and printing services. All these activities take place under an umbrella of compliance with disabilities, heritage and environmental legislation, and workplace health and safety requirements. ……………………………………

3 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Facilities managers are important You make key decisions on behalf of users You have big budgets You maintain, preserve and promote the quality of educational facilities You have influence over, or control others physical working environments Therefore, you have impact on the working lives of people in your organisations, their comfort, well-being, and productivity You are, therefore, powerful…

4 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations …so, you need to know about and use ergonomics…

5 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations What is ergonomics? Sometimes called human factors The study of people and their interaction with work - a science as well as an art Its not all bums and backs or chair design Its about making work fit people… …not people fit work Ensuring tasks, environments and machines do not exceed human capabilities

6 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Formal definition Ergonomics (or 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. Ergonomists contribute to the design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, products, environments and systems in order to make them compatible with the needs, abilities and limitations of people. (IEA 2006 ) ) (HFESA 2006 ))

7 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations The ergonomists view of the world A people-centred perspective Start with peoples needs and limitations Consider domains: - physical - psychological/cognitive - organisational and environmental Participatory design environment workstation equipment

8 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations The measurement of variation of the body and its range of movement Physical ergonomics: Anthropometrics

9 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Physical ergonomics: physical environment At immediate interface of user and work - the workstation The quality of their workstation has meaning for the user. For example, what is the users perception of their worth to the organisation when their bench is not re-surfaced for 10 years?

10 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Physical ergonomics: physical environment At immediate interface of user and work Workstation Equipment Has much changed since the mid-1980s? A newly installed computer circa 1984

11 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Improving laptop use Use external keyboard and mouse Use laptop stand Raise screen to comfortable height Use in-built document holder Can be used permanently, or can be portable Ergo-Q2 ALU Portable Laptop Station -

12 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Physical ergonomics: Workplace layout - the next interface of user and work

13 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Physical ergonomics: workplace layout Contributes to your experience of work. Consider: –Open communication vs reinforcing privacy –Mobility vs congestion –Quiet work space vs lack of auditory privacy –Creating a social environment –A sense of your own place –An abundance of literature now available on the psychosocial impact of the physical workplace

14 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Wrong job, wrong time, wrong place? (Inalhan and Finch 2004)

15 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Physical ergonomics Affects working postures, safety Affects health, well-being, impacts on level of stress (more later…) Consider: –Interior design: colour, surfaces… –Space: work area, social, circulation… –Lighting: quality, quantity –Noise –Vibration –Temperature, humidity At outer interface of user and work: the physical environment

16 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations What are the results of poor design? Negative impact on work quality, quantity and efficiency? Reduces sense of personal satisfaction at work? Helps create a poor social environment? Adds to sense of poor job control? Reduces autonomy? What are the relative costs of poor design and good design when these effects are considered?

17 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Cognitive ergonomics About how we - Pick up information in the environment Decide what it means React to it Remember it Act as a result –eg design and labelling of controls and signs

18 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Ergonomics is about where your hand goes in an emergency…

19 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Can you reach the controls, read the displays and still drive your car safely?

20 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations The meaning of signs and symbols should be clear to all…

21 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Symbols in building How do I use the doors? (reproduced from Evans and McCoy 1998)

22 A room with a view… …is good for the soul

23 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Organisational ergonomics Optimisation of sociotechnical systems Organisational structures Policies Processes Facilities have impact

24 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Organisational ergonomics stress Needs an organisational response, not only a personal response

25 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Personal responses We have different personalities as well different physical attributes But our personal response to stress is only a small part of the story Cant design jobs and workplaces only for the robust and optimistic - wouldnt be enough workers to go around!

26 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Organisational response to stress Design to reduce stress Identify hot spots using worker surveys, valid instruments interviews, focus groups body mapping hazard mapping checklists

27 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations What are the effects of stress? Health effects Counter-productive behaviour Burnout

28 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Health effects of stress include Heart disease (strong epidemiological evidence) Helps to cause physical injuries Autoimmune diseases Ulcers, arthritis, infectious diseases and mental illness, depression Alcoholism and drug abuse

29 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Demand-Control Model (Karasek, 1979) Decision Latitude High Control Low Strain Jobs Active Jobs Low Control Passive Jobs LowHigh Job Demands High Strain Jobs

30 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Control over work environment Contributes to perceived job control Implicated in health outcomes Role of the FM in encouraging this? Implicit in design Participatory design processes essential

31 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations FM and designer - a partnership? Team work between facilities managers, facilities planners and architect Introduced specialised expertise in technologies and environment Architecture for inspiring learning/creativity, not just as icon Insist the team that begins the project, finishes the project Facilitate, dont manage! (McClintock and Rayner TEFMA 2005 Workshop) But what about the workers?

32 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations a key to effective design Participation: a key to effective design Identify who the users/stakeholders are: –eg staff (academic, management, administrative, maintenance, contractors, sub-lessees…), staff unions, students (ug, pg, os, part-time full-time, external…), student union, disabled, alumni, benefactors, public, visitors… Include and hear voice of all players Gain direct understanding of users needs, limitations Get agreement about how to design for conflicting needs Participation improves chance of getting it right first time

33 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Participation when? Some legal obligations (OHS&W) Any change: –new building, new external environment, refurbishment… At design concept During design Design for maintenance Post-occupancy evaluation

34 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations What sort of participation? Inclusive forum: whole system in the room: many perspectives, common agenda Avoid talking heads: allow equal communication Focus on future, not problem solving: what works now? Find common ground Choose a place where everyone can see each other Give control to participants

35 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations References Bitner MJ (1992) Servicescapes: The Impact of Physical Surroundings on Customers and Employees. Journal of Marketing 56(2): Evans GW and McCoy JM (1998) When Buildings Dont Work: The Role of Architecture in Human Health. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 18(1): Grimshaw, B (1999) Facilities management: the wider implications of managing change. Facilities 17(1/2): Ilozor BD, Love PED, Treloar G (2002) The impact of work settings on organisational performance measures in built facilities. Facilities 20(1/2) :

36 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Inalhan G and Finch E (2004) Place attachment and sense of belonging. Facilities 22(5/6): Karasek RA Jr (1979) Job demands, job decision latitude and mental strain: implications for job redesign. Administrative Science Quarterly 24(June): Kwallek N, Woodson H, Lewis CM and Sales C (1997) Impact of three interior color schemes on worker mood and performance relative to individual environmental sensitivity. Color Research and Application 22(2): Allan EL, Suchanek-Hudmon KL, Berger BA, Eiland SA (1992) Patient treatment adherence. Facility design and counselling skills J Pharm Technol.8(6): Elle M, Englemark J, Jørgensen B, Kock C, Balslev Nielsen S and Vestergaard F (2004) Managing facilities in a Scandinavian manner: creating a research agenda. Facilities 22(11/12):

37 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations Norman DA (2004) Emotional Design. Basic Books: New York. Norman DA (1988) The Psychology of Everyday Things. Basic Books: New York. Granath JÅ (1999) Workplace making - A strategic activity. Journal of Corporate Real Estate 1(2): Crowe TD (2000) Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design: Applications of architectural design and space management concepts. 2nd Edition Butterworth-Heinemann: Woburn MA. van der Voordt TJM (2004) Productivity and employee satisfaction in flexible workplaces. Journal of Corporate Real Estate 6(2): van Ree HJ (2002) The added value of office accommodation to organisational performance. Work Study 51(7):

38 working to improve organisations TEFMA March 2006© working to improve organisations White D (1995) Application of systems thinking to risk management: a review of the literature. Management Decision 33(10): Weisbord M and Janoff S (2000) Future search: an action guide to finding common ground in organizations and communities. San Francisco: Berrett- Koehler.

39 Consultation and participation increase control and are music to the ears!

40 Dr Verna Blewett New Horizon Consulting Pty Ltd web Working to improve organisations


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