Listen to an interview about ergonomics on IISE's brand new podcast

"The Buy-In For Ergonomics with Julia Abate and Monica V. Matlis" from the new podcast, available for download on the "Problem Solved" website or your favorite source for podcasts.

Looking forward to seeing you at AEC 2020!

Building on the success of AEC 2019, plan now to attend this ergo extravaganza in 2020 in the beautiful Bluegrass State. #AppliedErgo2020

AES and UL team up for specialist certificate

Ergo leaders can't be everywhere, but through this five-session, online suite, their expertise can. Click on the image above to learn more about this new program.

Learn more about Bobbie Watts

Read more about this ergonomics director in the March 2019 ISE magazine - she's featured in the monthly "What's Your Story?"

AEC Free Webinar Series

The Applied Ergonomics Conference Committee hosts a series of free webinars to showcase the valuable content at AEC. Check out the upcoming schedule and past recordings.


Three Levels of AES Membership

There are 3 unique levels of membership intended to meet the needs of everyone in this community:

  • Students - we want to provide students the opportunity to network and develop in this profession. AES will help them share solutions and obtain professional certifications, as well as provide ongoing professional development.
    Price: $39 for IISE membership and an additional $5 for AES membership
  • Professionals - This level includes full benefits from IISE including:
    • The monthly ISE magazine
    • Webinars
    • Member discounts on conferences and training
    • Membership in IISE Connect, the new vibrant online community
    • A subscription to IISE’s quarterly journal for occupational ergonomics
    Price: $159 for IISE membership and an additional $35 for AES membership
    Note: There is a $15 processing fee for first-time professional members.

  • Affiliate Members - focused on people working on the shop floor or other settings who may be participating in the Ergo Cup. Benefits include short, modular online training courses in applied ergonomics, safety and other areas. They will have opportunities to network, share ideas on workplace improvement and continued development and support for applied ergonomics in the workplace.
    Price: $82 for AES only membership

 New Members - Join Here Existing IISE Members - Join Here

Message from the president

Happy 2019! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I'd like to start the year off talking about Universal Design and applying it to the workplace, design of equipment/tools & workstations, etc. The 7 Principles of Universal Design were developed in 1997 by Ronald Mace working with a group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers while at North Carolina State University (NCSU).

  • Principle 1: Equitable Use
  • Principle 2: Flexibility in Use
  • Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive Use
  • Principle 4: Perceptible Information
  • Principle 5: Tolerance for Error
  • Principle 6: Low Physical Effort
  • Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use

According to the Center for Universal Design in  NCSU, the Principles "may be applied to evaluate existing designs, guide the design process and educate both designers and consumers about the characteristics of more usable products and environments." 

When a lot of people first hear about Universal Design, their first thought is trying to design for 100% of people is not possible and that this is just another accessibility standard. But as  Universal points out, this is not the case because Universal Design focuses on improving the overall design of something by integrating accessible features throughout the overall design process rather than trying to modify the final design to fit a single user and/or group of users. 

As The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design ( CEUD) states: "An environment (or any building, product, or service in that environment) should be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it. This is not a special requirement, for the benefit of only a minority of the population. It is a fundamental condition of good design." This is how we should think about designing work environments, equipment or tools that are necessary to use to do the job. In order to not get too overwhelmed with the idea of applying these principles "to the work environment, consider the two-level approach recommended by the CEUD:

  1. "User-Aware Design: pushing the boundaries of 'mainstream' products, services and environments to include as many people as possible.
  2. Customisable Design: design to minimise the difficulties of adaptation to particular users."


One way you can start trying to apply these principles to your work environments is to use anthropometric data to help design workstations or when purchasing equipment/tools. If you can't measure your own worker population, review the article in the newsletter as to where you can find anthropometric databases that may be helpful to you in your efforts to design for a bigger percentage of the population.

To see some ideas and case studies and how to apply Universal Design to your workplace, please check out the following websites:, and

As always, we welcome your suggestions and your continued efforts to get the word out about the Society by telling your friends and colleagues about AES.

Teresa A. Bellingar, AES President
Ben Zavitz, AES President-Elect

AES Member Spotlight - Lora Cavuoto

Lora Cavuoto is an Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University at Buffalo. Her research has focused on promoting healthier and more productive individual and work environments along two major streams: 1) understanding functional capacity and health with obesity; and 2) quantifying workload and exposures to risks in industry. Within both of these streams, she has emphasized the effects of physical fatigue and how to identify when it results in changes to task performance.

Lora is proudest of her research contributions to the impact of work on overweight and obese individuals. This is because identified risks for overexertion are primarily based on results from normal-weight individuals, but over two-thirds of the working population is overweight or obese. Dr. Cavuoto's research has determined the extent of endurance differences based on obesity level for upper extremity muscles. From these findings, she and her colleagues have started to develop and validate a set of predictive endurance time models for use by practitioners that better accommodate the current US workforce.

Lora believes that connecting with those in the Applied Ergonomics Society who conduct ergonomics activities will allow her to better understand industry's needs and to disseminate her research findings to those who can implement change. This guides her advice to students and others, regarding the direct, positive impact ergonomics efforts have on workers' lives. She has found that this profession has allowed her to use her creativity and problem-solving skills to identify meaningful solutions for challenging problems that may not have a direct answer.

A critical part of Lora's upbringing was enjoying good food with family and friends.  As a result, this has been the motivation for two of her main hobbies now - baking and exploring new restaurants.

NIOSH Releases Its Strategic Plan for 2019-2023

Jobs that fuel the U.S. economy continue to change. Not only has a large portion of work shifted from manufacturing to the service sector, but many employees work longer hours or in a compressed schedule, or they perform part-time or temporary jobs. Employee demographics are changing as well, and most of us are aware of the "aging workforce."

As a result, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently updated its research and service goals for the next four years, which aims to best address these health and safety concerns. Two of the seven chosen goals are directly linked to the efforts of many who address ergonomics issues, and within these are specific objectives. These are outlined below.

NIOSH Goal: Reducing Occupational Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs)

  • In the agricultureforestry, and fishing industries - develop a better understanding of the impact of vibration and repetitive motion exposures.
  • In manufacturingconstruction, and trade industries - study the impact of workers using robots and exoskeletons.
  • In healthcare - evaluate the effectiveness of interventions aimed to reduce MSDs.
  • In mining - better identify risk factors for MSD development.
  • Among service industry jobs - increase the understanding of risks for back injuries.
  • In wholesale and retail trade - improve ability to reduce MSDs among older employees.

NIOSH Goal: Promoting Safe and Healthy Work Design and Well-Being

  • In construction and the services industry - study the impact of non-standard work arrangements.
  • In healthcareminingpublic safety, and in the transportationwarehousingand utilities sector, as well as in wholesale and retail trade - improve understanding of the impact of work organizational factors.

NIOSH will largely be funding the health and safety research community to examine these issues. However, ergonomics practitioners can expect to see many new and exciting outcomes and solutions that arise in the near future from these efforts.

More details about NIOSH's Strategic Plan can be found  online.

Profile: Winning Ergo Cup® Excellence Award for Presentation Quality - Johnson & Johnson

Achieving ergonomics improvements isn't just about performing accurate worksite assessments and implementing feasible solutions. A big part of ergonomics success is how an initiative is presented, especially to management and affected employees.

A group from Johnson & Johnson Vision demonstrated an effective strategy to accomplish this at the 2018 Applied Ergonomics Conference. Their efforts paid off, with an Ergo Cup® win for presentation quality.

The team's project was ERGO Moments, a program developed in-house, which focused on increasing employees' adherence to safe job procedures and educating them about ergonomics and the causes of musculoskeletal disorders. They achieved this through an employee engagement program, where the facility's ergonomics team worked with employees directly on the production floor, to raise ergonomics awareness. It also empowered these operators to identify tools and solutions within their work processes and find other means to improve their work conditions. Through this program, the facility greatly increased the number of safety improvements and drastically reduced their OSHA-recordable injuries.

At the conference, the Johnson & Johnson team used eye-catching graphics in their Ergo Cup booth, staffed it with dynamic presenters, and used other clever visual aids to effectively convey their project efforts and results. Conference attendees responded, by selecting this entry as having the best presentation across all Ergo Cup entries. Congratulations!

Locating the Right Anthropometric Data Set

Ergonomics projects often involve determining how well a product, work space, or piece of equipment matches the physical characteristics of users. This requires use of anthropmetric data.  If you're not familiar with this term, anthropometry is simply the scientific study of human physical measurements and proportions.

Unfortunately, finding the most appropriate anthropometric data source(s) can be a daunting challenge, especially since any user group or worker population most likely varies considerably in terms of race, ethnicity, or gender composition. Further, after a source is selected, correctly interpreting the data can be challenging as well.

The library system at Canada's University of Alberta has done a commendable job of compiling various anthropmetric data sources. This list includes websites geared for the general human population and well as those specific to Asian, European, and U.S. sub-populations. Several of these data sources are interactive. Also provided are lists of anthro-related reference books, research articles, standards, and commercially available software. Collectively, these resources may help one navigate through the often confusing world of body size data and be more confident that the data are being applied correctly.

So, if you are searching for the appropriate body size database for your efforts, consider this resource as a good first stop in your hunt. However, keep in mind that available body size measures, collection methods, units of measurement, etc. vary from source to source, so be sure to read the details of each dataset.