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An Ergonomics Course For Manufacturing Engineering Technology Students

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Curriculum Development in Manufacturing ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.162.1 - 10.162.9



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Paper Authors

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Jeffrey Newcomer

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

An Ergonomics Course for Manufacturing Engineering Technology Students Jeffrey L. Newcomer Engineering Technology Dept. Western Washington University


Ergonomics has become an important part of manufacturing process design, for even without an OSHA standard in the area, the potential savings of having an ergonomics program in place are significant. As such, it is important for students in a Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MET) programs to be versed in the basics of ergonomic process design. To address this need, the Engineering Technology (ET) Department at Western Washington University (WWU) re- cently created a course in Manufacturing Ergonomics, Safety, and Health (MESH) for students in the MET program. The new course predominantly covers ergonomic process design, and it also includes a section on safety, health, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations so that students are aware of responsibilities in that area as well. At the heart of the course are six active learning assignments, four on ergonomics and two on safety and health, that allow students to apply the course material to realistic and open-ended problems. The first two assignments are ergonomic assessments, one on body position during a work task and one on analyzing a lifting task. Students are required to find situations to observe for these two assignments, so they all analyze different situations. The next two assignments are design assignments, one for an assembly workstation and one for a process control panel. Students are all given the same specific problems for these two assignments. The final two assignments are on safety and health, one on researching an OSHA standard and one on an accident report. Stu- dents are given specific standards to research for the former assignment, but are required to find their own accident for the latter, so all students examine different situations. Together these as- signments allow students to integrate and apply the course material. This paper describes the impetus for the course, its basic layout, the active learning assignments, including some exam- ples, and the assessment findings so far.


MET is one of six programs in the ET Department at WWU. The department also has programs in Electronics Engineering Technology (EET), Plastics Engineering Technology (PET), Indus- trial Design (ID), Industrial Technology (IT), and Technology Education (TechEd). The Indus- trial Technology program supports options in Vehicle Design and CAD/CAM, as well as a Self- Designed option. Of these programs, only the three engineering technology programs fall under the rubric of ABET. The department has approximately 450 declared majors, 50-60 of them in the MET program, and currently has fifteen full-time and six part-time faculty with backgrounds ranging from Engineering to Art. Only the MET majors are required to take the MESH class, although students in PET, IT, and Manufacturing Management (from the College of Business and Economics) sometimes take the course as a technical elective. “Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Newcomer, J. (2005, June), An Ergonomics Course For Manufacturing Engineering Technology Students Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15450

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