National Ergonomics Month is here again, now in its tenth year! October is designated by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society as a time to remind people—no matter where they live or work—that professionals in the field of human factors/ergonomics (HF/E) have been striving for almost six decades to improve the safety, performance, and comfort of human beings. The goal of NEM is to promote the science and profession of HF/E through teaching, learning, networking, service, and fun through outreach to legislators, business leaders, the media, educators, and students.
Here are just a few examples of present and past work by human factors/ergonomics experts that has made a difference in people’s lives around the world:
- HF/E professionals are working to improve patient safety through advancements in medical devices, research on physician fatigue management, and the development of methods to streamline communication among hospital staff. Click here for one example of important medical device design advancements.
- As states continue to legalize driverless vehicles, HF/E researchers evaluate automated cars’ usability and safety. For more information, check out the October Human Factors special issue on automation, available soon at http://hfs.sagepub.com/.
- HF/E researchers’ and practitioners’ studies of distracted driving have had wide-reaching impact through extensive media attention and legislation. Read more about the relationship between MP3 players and distracted driving.
- Numerous contributions by HF/E professionals have made air travel safer. These efforts focus on issues such as air traffic controller workload and fatigue, automation in the cockpit, and team communication.
- As the population ages and individuals’ physical and cognitive capabilities diminish, HF/E professionals point out ways in which systems, tools, products, and environments can be enhanced or adapted for the special needs of aging users. Read a press release on usability issues for older adults with mobile apps.
- Advancements in robotics have led to improvements in home health care, government and military initiatives, search-and-rescue operations, any many other areas. Find out how seniors feel about robots as home health aides here.
To read more about important contributions from human factors/ergonomics professionals, browse the 2008 Human Factors 50th anniversary special issue.
NEM outreach efforts extend throughout the year to ensure that government and industry leaders and the public know how important HF/E is in the creation of safe and usable technology.
Visit the National Ergonomics Month Web site (http://www.hfes.org/web/NatErgoMonth/natergomonth.html) to find out how you can help spread the word about how HF/E makes the world a more user-friendly place.
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The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is the world's largest nonprofit individual-member, multidisciplinary scientific association for human factors/ergonomics professionals, with more than 4,600 members globally. HFES members include psychologists and other scientists, designers, and engineers, all of whom have a common interest in designing systems and equipment to be safe and effective for the people who operate and maintain them. “Human Factors and Ergonomics: People-Friendly Design Through Science and Engineering”