Course Title: Ergonomics

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Ergonomics

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 2 2009

Course Coordinator: Mr Leo Ruschena

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 99251982

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 3.2.9

Course Coordinator Availability: by appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This is an introductory enabling course requiring no formal prerequisites.

Course Description

This course examines the contributions of human factors in work and task design, and health and safety. Topics include physiological processes, examination of work postures, human information processing and machine interaction.
The course aims to provide students with a basic understanding the principles underlying the place of people in work systems, their abilities and limitations, so that tasks and work generally may be designed for effectiveness, efficiency and health and safety.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On completion of this course, students should be able to appreciate the role of Occupational Ergonomics in achieving a safe, healthy and productive workplace.

In particular, they will:

  • Identify potential and current OH&S hazards in the workplace relating to ergonomic issues;
  • Recommend systematic approach to control and develop effective prevention programs for the workplace;
  • Design physical and psychosocial work systems and workplaces:
  • Evaluate human information systems, including decision making;
  • Be familiar with legislative requirements on Manual Handling and the Victorian Code of Practice on Manual Handling;
  • Be familiar with various ergonomics tools to assess anthropometry, work load and lifting requirements;
  • Understand causes of fatigue and stress in the workplace, including impacts of shiftwork; and
  • Consultion and communication requirements consistent with the industrial framework and social context of the work place.

Studies will be carried out on the following:

  • Anthropometry
  • Work Posture
  • Muscular effort
  • Manual Materials Handling
  • Work Comfort
  • Work Station Design
  • Human Information processing
  • Displays and controls
  • Fatigue and stress
  • Job Design.

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities included in this course are:

• attendance at lectures where syllabus material will be presented and explained, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples;
• completion of tutorial questions and laboratory projects designed to give further practice in the application of theory and procedures, and to give feedback on student progress and understanding;
• completion of written assignments consisting of numerical and other problems, and analysis of real workplace environments requiring an integrated understanding of the subject matter; and
• private study, working through the course as presented in classes and learning materials, and gaining practice at solving conceptual and numerical problems.

Overview of Learning Resources

Students will be provided with lists of relevant texts, library resources (Including appropriate journals) and freely accessible Internet sites. Other material will be provided in class.
Students will be able to access course information and learning material through the Learning Hub (also known as online@RMIT).

Recommended text:

Kroemer K, and Grandjean E (1997) " Fitting the task to the human". Taylor and Francis

There will be a separate reading guide provided, covering materials available from the Library, particularly Australian Standards, and Material available on the website of the Victorian WorkCover authority.


Overview of Assessment

Evidence of understanding of the person-environment-work system interface is required from students and is assessed in this course by preparation of a technical paper and presentation, laboratory practical reports and workplace assessments.