From Theory to Practice: a Total Ergonomics Model of a Manufacturing System


Industrial Engineering, University of Tehran


The objective of this paper is three fold. First, a general framework for development of total ergonomics model is introduced. Second, it is described how total ergonomics model may be applied in practice to intensify the productivity and working conditions of manufacturing systems. Third, it is shown whether the total ergonomics model is superior to the conventional ergonomics approach. This study is among the first to examine total ergonomics components in a manufacturing system. Total ergonomics model considers conventional ergonomics factors as well as management and organizational factors. The total factors are defined as teamwork, information flow, information exchange, training (accident prevention and mitigation and safety in addition to conventional training), management skills and organizational procedures. Control room operation and maintenance department of a large thermal power plant is chosen as the case of our study. To achieve the above objectives, an integrated approach based on total ergonomics factors is developed. Second, it is applied to the power plant and the advantages of total ergonomics approach are discussed. Third, the impact of total ergonomics factors on local factors is examined through non-parametric statistical analysis. Moreover, the importance and impacts of total ergonomics factors are shown through Cramer's Phi coefficient and Kruskal-Wallis test. It is shown that total ergonomics model is much more beneficial than conventional approach. It should be noted that the traditional ergonomics methodology is not capable of locating the findings of total ergonomics model. The distinguished aspect of this study is the employment of a total system approach based on integration of the conventional ergonomics factors with management and organizational factors.