Dealing with ergonomic risks in industrial settings

Symone Miguez

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

31 Downloads (Pure)


Musculoskeletal injuries are a problematic issue worldwide. In Europe, musculoskeletal injuries represent up to 40% of labour compensation and are responsible for up to 1.6% loss in the GDP. Because ergonomics is one of the key solutions to this problem, many companies around the globe employ ergonomic concepts in their production processes. However, the development of ergonomic projects within Latin American companies is a major challenge because although some employees and employers have some knowledge of ergonomics, there is still a lack of knowledge among them. In the case of Brazil, ergonomics is applied in many industries due to the fact that there is a law (Regulatory Standard NR-17) established by the Ministry of Labour and Employment. This standard contributes a great deal to a favourable scenario for ergonomics in the country. Having said that, there is also a discouraging condition for the field of ergonomics in Brazil, namely, the way ergonomic services are offered. In some instances, ergonomics professionals refrain from considering fundamental particularities of the work environment of the company such as corporate culture and the view of the production process as a whole. A solution for embedding ergonomics in the culture could be the macro ergonomics approach as it has been shown beneficial in previous years and as proposed by Hendrick and Kleiner. A macro ergonomics approach includes analysing and designing work processes and organizational elements leading to organizational effectiveness and safety by looking at the whole system. This framework was applied in this PhD to deal with ergonomic risks in different industrial settings and segments. This new view of managing ergonomic risks enables continuous ergonomic improvements by involving a multidisciplinary team in companies. This approach includes a multidisciplinary team involved in the identification and management of ergonomic risks as well as in the development of practical ergonomic solutions, in a systematic manner. In this PhD the macro ergonomic approach was applied and the applications showed that it is possible to apply it in Brazil and any company in the world. It resulted in other behaviour and ergonomic improvements and a culture where ergonomics is embedded in the management and in the activities of the employees It took quite some effort and patience (4 years), but this is described in the literature as well.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Vink, P., Supervisor
  • Hallbeck, MS, Supervisor, External person
Award date15 Oct 2018
Print ISBNs978-94-028-1185-8
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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