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Development Of An Ergonomics And Safety Minor For Industrial And Manufacturing Curricula

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.376.1 - 6.376.7



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Paper Authors

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Tycho Fredericks

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Jorge Rodriguez

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Session 2457

Development of an Ergonomics and Safety Minor for Industrial and Manufacturing Curricula

Jorge Rodriguez, Tycho Fredericks Human Performance Institute - Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, MI 49008


This paper presents the results of a pilot study undertaken to develop an Ergonomics and Safety Option for the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) at Western Michigan University (WMU). Due to the changes in legislation and work practice standards, there is a growing demand for engineers who have a thorough understanding of ergonomic and safety applications. To prepare industrial and manufacturing engineering students for today’s work environment, courses should be geared toward developing a knowledge base to expand career opportunities and allow students the ability to move forward simultaneously with industrial advancements. The goal of this project was to research and develop an Ergonomic and Safety curriculum together with the definition of a standard curriculum design process that will allow for ease in future implementation of programs independent of the area of study. The basis of the defined procedure is a survey of involved parties. The outcome of the project included a course-specific Ergonomic and Safety curriculum. The proposed four-course/one-project minor implies the modification and creation of courses that cover the important learning objectives. Course contents and resource estimation are provided. This work was partially supported by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers-Education Foundation (SME-EF)1.

The high incidence of costly2, 3 injuries and illnesses for employers may be a direct result of the mismatch between working conditions, human capacities, and job demands (ergonomics + safety). In order to better prepare students for today’s work environment, it is necessary that Universities provide a dynamic curriculum which provides undergraduate students the knowledge, skills, and abilities to address the demands of industry. The study and field of industrial engineering is forefront in the movement toward ergonomic advancement within the workplace, yet according to Alexander, far too few industrial engineers retain ergonomics as one of their more commonly utilized tools4.


A review of the systematic approach for curriculum development in Ergonomics and Safety area revealed limited information. Generally, curricular design could be grouped into three areas: laboratory design, course design, and program design. Articles on laboratory and course design focused on many of the same critical issues. This is not surprising in science oriented programs where many laboratories are treated as separate courses. The major issues revealed were a concentrated effort to move class instruction from a highly theoretical component (traditional engineering learning) to more of a hands on approach5, 6, 7 , using technology as a supplemental instruction tool8, and catering delivery mechanisms for instruction around the individual

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference &Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Fredericks, T., & Rodriguez, J. (2001, June), Development Of An Ergonomics And Safety Minor For Industrial And Manufacturing Curricula Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9129

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