Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomist Career

Job Description: Design objects, facilities, and environments to optimize human well-being and overall system performance, applying theory, principles, and data regarding the relationship between humans and respective technology. Investigate and analyze characteristics of human behavior and performance as it relates to the use of technology.


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Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomist Career

What Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists do:

  • Advocate for end users in collaboration with other professionals including engineers, designers, managers, or customers.
  • Analyze complex systems to determine potential for further development, production, interoperability, compatibility, or usefulness in a particular area, such as aviation.
  • Apply modeling or quantitative analysis to forecast events, such as human decisions or behaviors, the structure or processes of organizations, or the attitudes or actions of human groups.
  • Collect data through direct observation of work activities or witnessing the conduct of tests.
  • Conduct research to evaluate potential solutions related to changes in equipment design, procedures, manpower, personnel, or training.
  • Design or evaluate human work systems, using human factors engineering and ergonomic principles to optimize usability, cost, quality, safety, or performance.
  • Establish system operating or training requirements to ensure optimized human-machine interfaces.
  • Perform functional, task, or anthropometric analysis, using tools such as checklists, surveys, videotaping or force measurement.
  • Prepare reports or presentations summarizing results or conclusions of human factors engineering or ergonomics activities, such as testing, investigation, or validation.
  • Write, review, or comment on documents, such as proposals, test plans, or procedures.
  • Assess the user-interface or usability characteristics of products.
  • Conduct interviews or surveys of users or customers to collect information on topics such as requirements, needs, fatigue, ergonomics, or interfaces.
  • Design cognitive aids, such as procedural storyboards or decision support systems.
  • Develop or implement human performance research, investigation, or analysis protocols.
  • Develop or implement research methodologies or statistical analysis plans to test and evaluate developmental prototypes used in new products or processes, such as cockpit designs, user workstations, or computerized human models.
  • Provide technical support to clients through activities such as rearranging workplace fixtures to reduce physical hazards or discomfort or modifying task sequences to reduce cycle time.
  • Train users in task techniques or ergonomic principles.
  • Estimate time or resource requirements for ergonomic or human factors research or development projects.
  • Recommend workplace changes to improve health and safety, using knowledge of potentially harmful factors, such as heavy loads or repetitive motions.
  • Inspect work sites to identify physical hazards.
  • Integrate human factors requirements into operational hardware.
  • Provide human factors technical expertise on topics such as advanced user-interface technology development or the role of human users in automated or autonomous sub-systems in advanced vehicle systems.
  • Review health, safety, accident, or worker compensation records to evaluate safety program effectiveness or to identify jobs with high incidents of injury.
  • Investigate theoretical or conceptual issues, such as the human design considerations of lunar landers or habitats.
  • Operate testing equipment, such as heat stress meters, octave band analyzers, motion analysis equipment, inclinometers, light meters, velometers, sling psychrometers, or colormetric detection tubes.
  • Perform statistical analyses, such as social network pattern analysis, network modeling, discrete event simulation, agent-based modeling, statistical natural language processing, computational sociology, mathematical optimization, or systems dynamics.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment - Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Holland Code Chart for a Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomist

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