Rules for Tools: Characteristics of Effective Ergonomic Assessment Tools

Recorded on December 15, 2021

With Deep South Center for Occupational Health & Safety

Rules for Tools: Characteristics of Effective Ergonomic Assessment Tools

About the Webinar:

Many ergonomic evaluation and risk assessment tools have been around for decades, and were designed to evaluate single or mono-task work. In practice, there are few single-task jobs. Most work is multi-task, exposing the worker to ergonomic risk factors of different levels (i.e., forces of different magnitude, postures of different severity, etc.). This presentation will review a timeline of the evolution of ergonomic assessment tools, and describe how tools are rapidly transitioning from single-task to multi-task models. Newer multi-task models such as Auburn University FFT (Fatigue Failure Theory) and RCRA (Recommended Cumulative Recovery Allowance, Gibson & Potvin 2016) offer tremendous advantages over earlier single-task models. These advantages include the ability to calculate job rotation path exposures, calculate cumulative daily exposure limits, and determine the contribution of each task/step to the overall risk/evaluation metric. New multi-task models also experience tremendously less model error than older single-task models. Learners will review model error through practical examples, and learn to apply Rules for Tools, a design taxonomy for developing new tools, and a basis of evaluation when comparing existing tools.

Learning Objectives

  1. Discuss the development and evolution of ergonomic evaluation / risk assessment tools over time
  2. Describe model errors encountered when using single-task models to evaluate multi-task work
  3. Identify advantages of newer multi-task models such as FFT and RCRA
  4. Apply ‘Rules for Tools,’ a design taxonomy to develop new tools, and to evaluate and compare existing tools

Instructor: Murray Gibson, MISE, PE, CPE

Murray Gibson, MISE, PE, CPE is founder of Saturn Ergonomics Consulting and a PhD student at Auburn University in Auburn, AL.

Instructor: Bob Sesek, MS

Bob Sesek holds graduate certificate of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, a Master’s degree in General Engineering, a Master’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering with an emphasis on Occupational Safety and Ergonomics and Occupational Injury Prevention. He has taught innovation courses to both graduate and undergraduate students. Prior to academia, Bob has worked in a number of different industries including aerospace, consumer products, software as a service and independent innovation consulting. During his career Bob became interested in invention and innovation and earned 48 issued U.S. patents. His Ph.D. research is focused on the application of personal characteristics to ergonomic risk assessment tools.


Instructor: Rich Sesek, PhD, CPE

Richard Sesek holds a Master’s degree in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis on Ergonomics and Safety. He has taught graduate and undergraduate level safety and health related courses for nearly 25 years. Prior to academia, he worked as an OSHA consultation consultant, as safety and environmental engineer, and as an ergonomics consultant. He has been active in the safety profession for over 30 years. He is the Tim Cook Associate Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Auburn University. He is the Director of the Business and Engineering Technology Program in the Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management. Dr. Sesek has, with his colleagues, helped to grow the Occupational Ergonomics and Safety and Injury Prevention Center into a collaborative and productive group of faculty and graduate students researching and teaching in the area of occupational safety and ergonomics. His research is primarily aimed at ergonomic modeling and assessment tool development.

Deep South Center for Occupational Health and Safety