Ergonomics Professionals Work in These Five Environments
- Government Agencies
- Scientific and Technical Consulting Centers
Ergonomics is the study of psychological and physiological principles in the design of equipment, tools, and spaces, and these are the top five career settings for ergonomics professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies ergonomics professionals as occupational health and safety technicians or specialists, and it compiles information about employment for people who work in this occupation. Understanding these common career settings for ergonomics professionals could help a person in their search for a job.
Related resource: Top 15 Master’s in Human Factors and Ergonomics
1. Government Agencies
Ergonomics professionals may work in government agencies. Some of the agencies where they may work include a department of labor, department of insurance, department of health or department of administrative services. They may be in the state or federal government. Some large cities might have an ergonomics professional on their staff, such as within the department of human resources.
Manufacturing facilities may also employ ergonomics professionals. In these production centers, workers often have to lift heavy loads, perform repetitive tasks or stand in the same position for a long period of time. This can result in musculoskeletal injuries. An ergonomics professional on staff can reduce the risk of on-the-job injuries by reviewing processes and procedures and making recommendations for how the work environment can be changed. The result could be an increase in efficiency and production and a decrease in employee discomfort. The ergonomics professional might be directly employed by a large manufacturing company, or they might be hired as a consultant.
Construction sites are another career setting for ergonomics professionals, explains the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On construction sites, workers may perform repetitive tasks such as using a nail gun, jackhammer or saw. Heavy equipment workers may spend a long period of time sitting in the same position and reaching for different controls. With an ergonomics professional on the site, the incidence of workplace injuries caused by strains and sprains could be reduced.
4. Scientific and Technical Consulting Centers
Scientific and technical consulting centers may also employ human factors and ergonomics professionals. These are often the types of places where factory floors, layouts, and office layouts and equipment are designed. When an ergonomics professional is included in the design process from the start, the facility could enjoy higher productivity and lower rates of on-the-job injuries. Ergonomics professionals might also be employed at scientific or technical consulting centers that work on the designs of tools and equipment. For example, the ergonomics professional might work on the design of industrial sewing machines or desk chairs in order to make them more people-friendly.
Hospitals are another job setting for ergonomics professionals. In the hospital environment, they might work in human resources, safety or administration. They may serve the other staff members of the hospital in order to lower the rate of on-the-job injuries for janitors, patient care associates, nurses, doctors, cafeteria workers, and laundry workers. They may also serve hospital patients, working alongside physical and occupational therapists in order to help people prevent injuries after leaving the hospital.
Ergonomics professionals play a vital role in increasing the health and safety of workers in a wide variety of environments. Understanding what these professionals do and where they work could help a human factors or ergonomics student choose an area of focus when they apply for jobs. Each of these five career settings for ergonomics professionals offers opportunities for growth, advancement and professional satisfaction.