AUT - Ergonomics and Human Factors

AUT

Ergonomics and Human Factors

Dr Mark BoocockDr Mark Boocock, PhD, MSc, BA(Hons), MErgS, EurErg

AUT University, Private Bag 92006, Auckland, N.Z.
Office: +64-9-921 9999 ext 7167
Fax: +64-9-92199620
Email: mark.boocock@aut.ac.nz

Overview | Current Research Themes | Active Research Projects | Recent Publications | Commissioned Publications | Book Chapters | Oral Presentations | Contacts

OVERVIEW

The ergonomics and human factors research activities of the Health & Rehabilitation Research Institute at AUT University are directed towards understanding human characteristics and capabilities and how these factors affect people in their work and at leisure. Led by Dr Mark Boocock, the EHF  research team is concerned with harmonising the work systems and activities of daily living in order to enhance both the health and well-being of individuals, as well as the efficiency, quality and performance of work systems.

The team's research activities focus on: hazard identification and risk assessment of work-related musculoskeletal disorders; the application of biomechanical, physiological and psychosocial measures to assess workplace tasks; the implementation of ergonomics intervention strategies; product safety assessment and design; and the management of rehabilitation and return to work programmes.

Our work to date has mainly focused on investigating the risk of musculoskeletal injury and applying ergonomics interventions in the following sectors: industry-based manual handling, computer-operated workstations, manufacturing processes, health services and patient handling.

The team is also part of The Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Research (COHSR), New Zealand's only multidisciplinary centre dedicated to promoting quality and robust interdisciplinary research on OHS-related themes through collaboration and the participation of the wide community of OHS advocates.

CURRENT RESEARCH THEMES

  • Rehabilitation and return to work programmes.
  • Application of ergonomic intervention strategies.
  • Biofeedback and manual handling training.
  • Development of physical and psychosocial methods.
  • Musculoskeletal hazard identification and risk assessment.
  • Fitting of systems to human characteristics and capabilities.

Our Aims

  • To improve our understanding of human characteristics and capabilities and how these factors affect people in their work and at leisure.
  • To enhance the health and well-being of individuals, as well as the efficiency, quality and performance of work systems.
  • To develop effective systems and methods for quantifying the risk of musculoskeletal injury.
  • To determine the efficacy of ergonomics interventions in promoting health, wellbeing and performance. Back to top

ACTIVE RESEARCH PROJECTS

The effect of lumbar spine position on back extensor torque and trunk muscle activation in healthy individuals and people with chronic low back pain.
Mawston, Boocock, Holder
Funding: NZ Society Physiotherapists
The aim of the project is to examine how changes in lumbar posture influence back extensor torque and trunk muscle activation in people with chronic low back pain (LBP).   A secondary aim will be to develop a clinical tool to evaluate trunk extensor torque in healthy subjects and individuals with chronic low back pain.  This research will provide insight into extensor muscle strength capabilities in healthy populations and those individuals with chronic LBP, and into possible mechanisms of low back injury and the implementation of rehabilitation programmes by clinicians.
Contact Grant Mawston

The effect of biofeedback while performing repetitive lifting on postural, psychophysical, and physiological responses in young individuals.
Boocock, Naude and Mawston
Funding:
NZ Society Physiotherapists
The main aim of the study is to examine how biofeedback during the performance of a repetitive lifting task to fatigue by young individuals influences lumbar flexion, perceptual effort, body motion, and physiological measures (heart rate and muscle activity). An additional aim of the study is to investigate the reliability and validity of three dimensional accelerometers in measuring lumbar flexion.

Revision to the NZ 'Approved Code of Practice (COP) for the use of Visual Display Units in the Place of Work.'
Boocock, M.G., Tappin, D., Edwin, M., McNair, P.J., Collier, J., Rice, D., and Larmer, P.J.
Funding: Accident Compensation Corporation.
The development of guidelines for the management of risks factors associated with computer-operated workstations. These new guidelines contain practical tools for hazard assessment, methods for reducing hazards and preventative exercises. These will be of benefit to employers, employees, health and safety professionals and those involved in the injury prevention, management and rehabilitation of computer operators.
Contact: Mark Boocock mark.boocock@aut.ac.nz

Evidence based reviews on epidemiology of work-related gradual process disorders: Development of an evidence base for the acceptance of claims.

Lumbar and hip muscle fatigue in young and middle aged individuals during static and dynamc tasks.
Mawston, G.A., Boocock, M. G., and McNair, P.J.
Funding: New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists
Low back injury in an aging workforce is an increasing concern. Yet despite reductions in muscle strength and endurance with age, older workers are often expected to perform manual handling tasks of a similar workload to their younger colleagues. This may make these individulas more susceptible to local back muscle fatigue and injury. This project examines physiological fatigue patterns of erector spinae and hip extensor muscles in middle aged and young males before during and after a repetitive manual handling task.
Contact: Grant Mawston: grant.mawston@aut.ac.nz

Biomechanical, subjective, and physiological responses of middle aged individuals during repetitive lifting and lowering.
Mawston, G.A. and Boocock, M.G.
Funding: New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists.
Repetitive lifting has been associated with increased incidence of low back injury and this risk is substantially increased in older workers employed in occupations taht require repetitive manual handling. The current project is examining lumbar  spine biomechanics, subjective and physiological responses of younger and middle aged males during repetative lifting and lowering. Findings from this project may provide insight into possible physiological and biomechanical factors taht may contribute to low back injury in older workers.
Contact: Grant Mawston: grant.mawston@aut.ac.nz

The influence of posture on subjective, psychophysical and psychological responses to repetitive lifting fatigue.
Mawston, G.A., McNair, P.J. and Boocock, M.G.
Funding: New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists.
Advice on lifting posture is considered an important aspect of low back injury prevention and rehabilitation of workers into occupations that involve repetitive manual handling activities. This project investigates lumbar spine mechanics, associated trunk muscle activation, physiological, and psychophysical responses of young males who adopted different lifting postures during repetitive lifting to fatigue.
Contact: Grant Mawston: grant.mawston@aut.ac.nz

The influence of seating design on musculoskeletal discomfort in operators involved in repetitive work.
Boocock, M.G., Portero, P., Wilkins, F.J. and Couillandre, A. – in collaboration with Professor Pierre Portero from Service de Rééducation Neuro-Orthopédique, Hôpital Rothschild, Paris, France.
Funding: Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS), France.
Sit-stand chairs are increasingly being used as means to vary working posture and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders when carrying out sedentary work. The project investigated the effects of ergonomic workstation design on musculoskeletal loads in workers performing repetitive tasks (e.g. meat processing).
Contact: Mark Boocock mark.boocock@aut.ac.nz

The development of a generalised approach for the assessment of physical workload: “European Assembly Worksheet (EAWS)"
Schaub, K., Boocock, M.G., Caragnano, G., Britzke, B., Winter, G., Sinn-Behrendt, A., Ahmadi, K. and Bruder, R. - in collaboration with Dr Karlheinz Schaub, Institute of Ergonomics, Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany.
An integration of proactive ergonomic interventions into production structures and processes is essential to ensure an effective and efficient use of a company’s workforce. This can be achieved using risk evaluation tools. A generic risk assessment approach for assessing all aspects of physical workload has been developed.
Contact: Mark Boocock mark.boocock@aut.ac.nz

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Psychophysical measures of team handling capabilities.
Pinder A.D.J., Boocock, M.G. and Monnington, S.C. - in collaboration with Dr Andrew Pinder, Ergonomics Section, Health and Safety Laboratory.
Funding: Health and Safety Executive, UK.
It has often been suggested that differences in stature will affect lifting capacity. Maximum Acceptable Weights of Lift (MAWL) were determined for an infrequent task performed by two people. The effects of dissimilarities in stature were investigated by selecting subjects from the extremes of the male and female stature distributions.
Contact: Mark Boocock mark.boocock@aut.ac.nz

The effects of inclined surfaces on pushing and pulling force capabilities.
Boocock, M.G. and Ferreira, J. - in collaboration with Jeremy Ferreira, Ergonomics Section, Health and Safety Laboratory.
Funding: Health and Safety Executive, UK.
The work environment is believed to have a significant impact on the ability to exert push-pull forces and may therefore present a risk of musculoskeletal injury to the operator. The effects of changing the inclination of floor surface were investigated in order to determine its impact on the ability to exert maximum push and pull forces.
Contact: Mark Boocock mark.boocock@aut.ac.nzBack to top

Other active projects:

  • Preventing and managing upper limb musculoskeletal disorders using a tailored workplace exercise programme.
  • Three dimensional foot modelling of children with and without flat feet. joint research project with School of Podiatry, AUT Unversity.
  • Knee articular cartilage image recognition and teh assessment of biomechanical loads at teh knee. Joint project with Department of Engineering Science, University of Auckland (Charles Unsworth and Zarrar Javaid).
  • Physiological responses of young and middle aged males during repetitive manual handling tasks.
  • Kinematic and electromyographic responses of middle aged and young males.

 

RECENT PUBLICATIONS/PRESENTATIONS

Peer reviewed publications:

Boocock, M.G., McNair, P. J., Larmer, P.J., Armstrong, B., Collier, J., Simmonds, M. and Garrett, N. (2007). Interventions for the prevention and management of neck/upper extremity musculoskeletal conditions: a systematic review. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 64, 291-303.

Boocock, M.G., Weyman, A.K. and McIlroy, R. (2006) Bedside safety rails: assessment of strength requirements and the appropriateness of current designs. Ergonomics, 49, 7, 631-650.

Boocock, M.G., Haslam, R.A., Lemon, P. and Thorpe, S. (2006) Force and postural adaptations when pushing and pulling on floor surfaces with good and reduced resistance to slipping. Ergonomics, 49, 9, 801-821.

Mawston, G., McNair P. J. and Boocock, M. G. (2007). The effects of prior warning and lifting-induced fatigue on trunk muscle and postural responses to sudden loading during manual handling. Ergonomics (in press).

Mawston, G., McNair P. J. and Boocock, M. G. (2006). The effects of prior warning, warning and initial standing posture on muscular and kinematic responses to sudden loading of a hand-held box. Clinical Biomechanics, 22, 275-281.Back to top

COMMISSIONED PUBLICATIONS

McPherson K, Diesfeld K, Schluter P, Travalglia S, Ryan B, DeSouza R, Boocock M, Harwood M, LaGrow S, Callaghan K, Gorman D, Tuiqereqere D. Evaluation of Vocational Rehabilitation under the Injury Prevention Rehabilitation and Compensation (IPRC) Act 2001 (2007). (A report commissioned by the Accident Compensation Corporation New Zealand). Auckland: AUT University.

Boocock M.G., McNair P.J., Larmer P., Armstrong B., Collier J., Simmonds, M. and Garrett N. (2005) Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS) Prevention literature review. ACC Worksafe (ACC Report#:1863), ISBN: 0-47-27961-2.

BOOK CHAPTERS

Boocock, M. G., Mawston, G. A. and Smith, R. (2010). The effects of repetitive lifting on lumbar spinal motion in a young and middle-aged population. In Press: Advances in Ergonomics Modeling & Usability Evaluation H. Khalid, A. Hedge and T. Ahram (Editors). Taylor and Francis.

Boocock, M.G., McNair, P. J., Larmer, P.J. (2008). Chapter 6: Risk factors and interventions associated with hand-arm vibration syndrome. In: Biomedical applications of vibration and acoustics in therapy, bioeffects and modeling (edited by: A. Al-Jumaily and A. Alizad). ASME Press, New York, pp111-152.

McNair, P.J. and Cresswell, A. Muscle. In Kolt, G. and Snyder-Mackler (eds) Physical Therapies in Sport and Exercise. Churchill Livingstone, London, 2nd Edition 2006.

Hunter, J., Marshall, R.N. and McNair P.J. External and internal forces in sprint running. In Bartlett, R and Hong, Y. The Handbook of Biomechanics and Human Movement Science. Routledge Taylor and Francis Books in press.Back to top

ORAL PRESENTATIONS

Peer reviewed presentations:

Boocock, M., Hannif, Z., Jamieson, S., Kjær, T., Lamare, R., Lamm, F., Markey, R., Martin, C., McDonnell, N., Rasmussen, E., Robertson, C., Schweder, P., Shulruf, B., Wagstaffe, (2010). Health and safety issues related to precarious working and vulnerable workers. Health and safety and vulnerable workers in a changing world of work, Middlesex University, 8th June.

Mawston, G. A., McNair, P. J. and Boocock, M. G. (2010). Lumbar motion and trunk muscle activation during repetitive lowering: effects of posture and fatigue. Physiotherapy Biennial Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, 14–16th May.

Mawston, G. A., McNair, P. J. and Boocock, M. G. (2010). Lumbar spine kinematics and trunk muscle activation in stoop and squat lifters during repetitive lifting and lowering to fatigue. ISEK 2010. The XVIII congress of International Society of Electrophysiology and Kinesiology, Aalborg, Denmark. June 16-19th.

Boocock, M.G., Montgomery, T.C. and Hing, W. (2009). Sagittal Plane trunk posture and its effects on trunk rotational range of motion. In: Proceedings of the 17th World Congress on Ergonomics, IEA2009 Congress, 10-14th August, Beijing, China.

Boocock, M.G., McNair, P. J. and Larmer, P.J. (2009). Reducing the risk of hand-arm vibration syndrome: a systematic review of interventions. In: Proceedings of the 17th World Congress on Ergonomics, IEA2009 Congress, 10-14th August, Beijing, China.

Boocock, M.G., Montgomery, T.C. and Hing, W. (2009). Axial rotation of the trunk and the effects of alterations in sagittal plane trunk posture. In: Proceedings of the New Zealand Ergonomics Society: Ergonomics for the ageing population (ISBN: 0-9582560-2-0). Martinborough, 27– 28th May.

Boocock, M.G., McNair, P. J. and Larmer, P.J. (2008). Hand-arm vibration syndrome: a systematic review of risk factors and interventions. In: Proceedings of the Inaugural OHSIG Conference, Auckland, 10–12th Sept.

Mawston, G.A., McNair, P. J., and Boocock, M.G. (2008). Lumbosacral motion and trunk muscle activation patterns during repetitive squat lifting: Implications for rehabilitative exercise prescription. In Abstracts of the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapists (IFOMT) Conference: Connecting "Science" to Quality of Life [CD-ROM], (IP046), Rotterdam: Elsevier B.V.

Boocock, M.G., Portero, P., Wilkins, F. and Couillandre, A. (2007). The impact of a sit-stand chair for promoting postural variability and changes in spinal loading. In: Proceedings of the 14th Conference of the New Zealand Ergonomics Society, Auckland, 7–9th Nov.

Boocock, M.G., McNair, P. J., Larmer, P.J., Armstrong, B., Collier, J., Simmonds, M. and Garrett, N. (2006). Terminology and definitions for upper extremity musculoskeletal conditions: a new framework. In: Proceedings of the 16th World Congress on Ergonomics, IEA2006 Congress (Edited by R N Pikaar, E.A.P Koningsveld, and P.J.M. Settels), 10-14th July, Maastricht, Elsevier Ltd, ISSN 0003-6870.

CONTACTS

RESEARCH TEAM:
Mark Boocock (Senior Lecturer) (09) 9219999 ext 7167 mark.boocock@aut.ac.nz
Grant Mawston (Senior Lecturer) (09) 9219999 ext 7180 grant.mawston@aut.ac.nz
Fiona Trevelyan (Senior Research Officer) (09) 9219999 ext 7142 fiona.trevelyan@aut.ac.nz
Liz Ashby (Research Officer) (09) 9219999 ext 8126  lashby@aut.ac.nz
Peter McNair (Director, Health and Rehabilitation Research Centre) (09) 9219999 ext 7143 peter.mcnair@aut.ac.nz
Peter Larmer
(Head of School, Physiotherapy) (09) 9219999 ext 7143 peter.larmer@aut.ac.nz


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Last updated: 17 Jul 2014 11:31am

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