Human factors/ergonomics professionals have long recognized the tremendous potential of our discipline for improving people's health, safety, and comfort and both human and system productivity. Indeed, through the application of our unique human-system interface technology, we have the potential to truly make a difference in the quality of life for virtually all peoples on this globe. In fact, I know of no profession where so small a group of professionals has such tremendous potential for truly making a difference.
In light of our potential, why is it, then, that more organizations, with their strong need to obtain employee commitment, reduce expenses, and increase productivity, are not banging down our doors for help, or creating human factors/ergonomics positions far beyond our capacity to fill them? Why is it that federal and state agencies are not pushing for legislation to ensure that human factors/ergonomics factors are systematically considered in the design of products for human use and work environments for employees? Why is it that both industry associations and members of Congress sometimes view us as simply adding an additional expense burden and, thus, increasing the costs of production and thereby decreasing competitiveness? In response to these questions, from my experience, at least four contributing reasons immediately come to mind.
First, some of these individuals and organizations have been exposed to bad ergonomics or what, in a recent article on this topic, Ian Chong (1996) labels "voodoo ergonomics" either in the form of products or work environments that are professed to be ergonomically designed but are not, or in which the so-called ergonomics was done by incompetent persons. This, indeed, is a co
Contact: Lois Smith
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society