Macroergonomics is concerned with the research, design, development, and application of the interface between organization, environment, human behavior and work systems. Traditional ergonomic interventions focus on physical workplace risk factors and may be limited by failure to address larger issues related to organizational issues in the work systems. This session will focus on concepts that will allow safety professionals to expand their knowledge and methods to address hese broader organizational factors.

The presentation will discuss methods for safety professionals to:

  • Use a systems approach to identify, understand and address the multiple factors that contribute to accident causation including physical, psychosocial and organizational issues.

  • Develop methods to increase communication in the organization on key safety elements.

  • Expand participation of the workforce in risk assessment and control.

  • Integrate the use of team approaches to driving change in the organization.

  • Monitor improvements in work systems through expanded, integrated measurement systems.

The presentation will summarize the Architecture of Safety Excellence (AOSE), which is a model for an organization to improve safety and ergonomics performance and can be used as a guide to applying macroergonomic principles. The AOSE model can establish the structure and provide the framework for action within the organization. This model is a systems approach that incorporates top down direction with bottom up ownership. Management Direction, Commitment and Leadership coupled with Employee Involvement and Ownership are the core drivers of success in the AOSE model. The model is based on using cross-functional teams to drive change in an organization. The cornerstones of the model are Risk Assessment, System Analysis, Integrated Solutions and Progress Measurement. These elements provide the team a plan for systematic identification, evaluation and reduction of risk. Iterative process resulting from use of the AOSE odel provides a means for comparing deliberate change in workplace systems and outcomes achieved.

The session will also review selected examples of projects that have applied macroergonomic principles in successful safety and ergonomics improvements that have achieved accident frequency and severity reduction.


Many factors can contribute to work related injuries and workers compensation claims and most incidents result from a combination of causes. Injures related to musculoskeletal disorder (MSD), for example, are often related to a combination of physical, psychosocial and organizational issues in the work and home environment.

The physical risk factors can usually be observed and measured with some precision and with standardized measurements for frequency of repetition, duration of activity, amount of force and osture angle. The non-physical factors are generally more difficult to measure and may not be directly observable. Psychosocial factors are usually measured by asking workers to give their opinions and perceptions in verbal or written formats.

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