Position Paper – Elevation of the Profession: Advancing Ergonomic Practice in Industry
by Will Thomas, MSc, Program Manager & Ergonomist – LifeBooster Inc.
The emergence of cost-effective, commercially available multi-point IMU sensor technologies that can automate and digitize the process of collecting and analyzing ergonomic risk data represents a paradigm shift for industry-based ergonomic practices. This shift has been met with some initial hesitancy from practitioners as it challenges aspects of traditional practice. In this paper, we discuss how the advent of multi-point sensor systems (MPS-Systems) represents an elevation of ergonomic practice, rather than a challenge to the vital work of industry professionals. MPS-Systems provide a scalable process for collecting and analyzing kinematic data and help rectify many of the current challenges associated with ergonomic risk assessments. The ability to automate and digitize ergonomic risk assessments through a direct measurement IMU sensor system enables the collection of high-quality data while reducing the time and labor burdens that practitioners currently face. These time efficiencies enable a reallocation and reinvestment of time and work effort to realize higher value outcomes, including more of a focus on complementary analyses, risk mitigation strategies, ergonomic systems integration, and macro-ergonomics. The adoption of MPS-Systems technologies will help elevate and enrich ergonomic practice in industry and provide practitioners with a cost- and resource-effective way to advance their industrial ergonomics programs.