Brief definition of Human Factors and Ergonomics?

Human Factors and Ergonomics (HF/E) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimise human wellbeing and overall system performance. HF/E helps to harmonise things that interact with people in terms of people’s needs, abilities and limitations.

What do HF/E Professionals do?

HF/E professionals bring knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of humans to the design of systems (e.g. tasks, jobs, products, procedures and processes, environments) so that both the system and people can work effectively.

Mission & Vision

The HFESA vision will be achieved by:

     delivering quality and accessible professional development and networking programs

     continually improving professional standards

     representing and lobbying government and industry on issues relevant to HF/E in Australia

     promoting the value of HF/E to industry, business, government, and the community, and

     ●  partnering with relevant key professional bodies, educational facilities and industry to promote both research and the quality of application of HF/E in Australia.     

 

The goals of the Society are:

  1. Promote the application of sound HF/E principles in the workplace.
  2. Promote the role of HF/E professionals.
  3. Provide relevant opportunities for professional development.
  4. Represent the interest of members to government, peak bodies, media and other organisations.
  5. Stimulate research, innovation and effective applications of HF/E.
  6. Provide and assist communication systems between members of the Society.
  7. Increase and improve membership services.
  8. Administer the affairs of the Society effectively.

HFESA Board Profiles

The Federal Board comprises the HFESA Executive (President, General Secretary, Treasurer), state branch representatives, and representatives from Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and HFESA committees as deemed appropriate. Everyone listed below, with the exception of the Public Officer, is a member of the Federal Board.

Current Executive

Wes Wilkinson
President

president@ergonomics.org.au

Andrew Wright
General Secretary

generalsecretary@ergonomics.org.au

treasurer@ergonomics.org.au

State Representatives

Sharon Todd
NSW

nsw@ergonomics.org.au

Nita Maynard
QLD

qld@ergonomics.org.au

David Nery
SA

sa@ergonomics.org.au

vic@ergonomics.org.au

wa@ergonomics.org.au

SIG and Committee Representatives

Margaret Cook
Honours & Awards Committee and Past President

honoursandawardschair@ergonomics.org.au

chisig@ergonomics.org.au

Public Officer

publicofficer@ergonomics.org.au

President

Wes Wilkinson – president@ergonomics.org.au

General Secretary

Andrew Wright – generalsecretary@ergonomics.org.au

Treasurer

Theo Kanellos – treasurer@ergonomics.org.au

Past Executive

Term of OfficePresidents General Secretaries National Treasurers 
Nov 2016 – Nov 2018Margaret CookQLDValerie O’KeeffeSASuzanne JohnsonQLD
Mar 2016 –
Nov 2016
Rodney PowellWAJodi OakmanVICMargaret CookQLD
Nov 2014 –
Mar 2016
Jennifer LongNSWJodi OakmanVICRodney PowellWA
2012-2014Mike ReganNSWPepe Marlow 2014
John Culvenor 2013
NSW
VIC
Trudy TilburyQLD
2010-2012Christine AickinNSWMarcia LustedNSWAirdrie LongNSW
2008-2010Christine WaringVICMichelle KoripasQLDTodd BentleyVIC
2006-2008Robin Burgess-LimerickQLDAngela SummersWAMargaret CookQLD
2004-2006Max HelyNSWRebecca MitchellNSWLouise WhitbyNSW
2002-2004Margaret HeadACTLes HoggACTJenny KerrACT
2000-2002Jim CarmichaelQLDRoxanne EgeskovQLDMargaret CookQLD
1998-2000David CapleVICTony PayneVICRos KushinskyVIC
1996-1998Ian GibsonWAJenni MillerWARodney PowellWA
1994-1996Verna BlewettSAMalcolm DispainSAValerie Noble (O’Keeffe)SA
1992-1994Barbara McPheeNSWChristine AickinNSWMaurice OxenburghNSW
1990-1992Jeffrey FrithACTWilliam (Bill) GreenACTJohn MorrisACT
1988-1990Margaret BullockQLDKen HorriganQLDMartin JenningsQLD
1986-1988Alan HowieVICMonica HayesVICRichard RawlingVIC
1984-1986Michael PatkinSABill EmblingSADavid LaidlerSA
1982-1984Roger HallNSWTom FischhofNSWPeter CroftNSW
1980-1982Errol HoffmanVIC VIC VIC
1978-1980Tom TriggsVICAlan HowieVICRichard RawlingVIC
1976-1978Bill GladstonesACTJim H. AdamsACT ACT
1974-1976Colin CameronVICH.E. JonesVICChris TeniswoodVIC
1972-1974Alan WelfordSAC.Trevor CoyteSADenis J. GlencrossQLD
1970-1972David FergusonNSWPhil C.W. WilliamsNSW NSW
1968-1970Ken ProvinsSA SA SA
1966-1968John LaneVICJim BryantVIC VIC
1964-1966Ron CummingVICKen ProvinsVIC VIC

Email: nsw@ergonomics.org.au

Title Description
Branch Chairperson: Amy Chung
nswchair@ergonomics.org.au
Board Representative: Sharon Todd
Secretary: Fiona McDonald
PD Coodinator: Vacant
Branch Committee: Rod Brown 
Robyn Clay Williams
Robyn Coman
Deborah Debono
Sharon Phillips

Co-opted into the Committee:
Ozlem Dalkic
Sienna Reynolds
Ameek Kaur

Email: qld@ergonomics.org.au

Title Description
Branch Chairperson: Marina Vitale,
qldchair@ergonomics.org.au
Board Representative: Nita Maynard
Secretary: Brooke Dench
Treasurer: Donna Lee
PD Coordinator: Nektarios Karanikas
Branch Committee Members: Michelle Low
Suzanne Johnson
Adrienne Tracey
Danellie Lynas
Karen Davies
Andrew Petersen
Angela Summers
Gary Dennis
Nita Maynard
Ken Horrigan

Co-opted Students:
Zohre Abedi
Haroun Zerguine

Email: sachair@ergonomics.org.au

Title Description
Board Representative: David Nery
Branch Chairperson Heidi Turbill
Secretary: Nicole Walters
Treasurer: Paul Dewing
PD Coordinators: Vacant
Branch Committee Members: Teal Evans,
Saody Lee,
So Young Lee,
Helen Moody,
Anjum Naweed,
Valerie O’Keefe,
Sara Warren
Email: vic@ergonomics.org.au
Title Description
Branch Chairperson and Board Representative: Brendan Grimes, vicchair@ergonomics.org.au
Board Representative Wes Wilkinson
Secretary: Vacant
PD Coordinators: Steph Cassidy
Branch Committee Members: Dave Harry,
Stephen Isam,
John Culvenor,
Margaret Juhasz,
Rob Hanna,
Melissa Mitchell,
Theo Kanellos,
Fiona Begg – Conference Committee only,
Stephen Hehir,
Wes Wilkinson
Email: wa@ergonomics.org.au
Title Description
Joint Branch Chairs: Sue Bannerman and Louise Coubrough, wachair@ergonomics.org.au
Board Representative: Kath Jones
Secretary/Treasurer: Wendy Pietricola
PD Officers: Dane Casserly, Carlee Ackland
Branch Committee Members: Ari Antonovsky,
Matthew Blampey,
Gisela Gmeinder,
Rob King,
Kendall Leggett,
Jean Mangharam,
Eunice Sari,
Matteo Vinci,
Tin Yan
Title Description
Chairs: Jean Mangharam – pab@ergonomics.org.au
Committee: Ari Antonovsky, Kris Fraser, Claire Folland, Jennifer Long, Anjum Naweed, Valerie O’Keeffe
Maintenance of Certification Chair: Helen Moody, mocchair@ergonomics.org.au
MOC Members: Margaret Cook and Richard Sutherland
Mentoring Committee Chair: Robin Burgess-Limerick

Code of Practice

As a condition of admission to professional grades, members of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia Inc agree to the following statement:

When practising human factors and ergonomics (HF/E), members shall, at all times:

  1. Ensure that the community and clients’ well-being take precedence over their responsibility to sectional or private interests;
  2. Uphold and enhance the honour, integrity and dignity of the profession and of the members of the Society;
  3. Ensure that their responsibility for the ethical conduct of any behaviour involving representations of the Society has due regard for the professional integrity of the Society; that this responsibility is not used to abuse the privilege. This responsibility takes precedence over any concern for the sectional, private or commercial interests or advantage.
  4. Express opinions on the work or reputation of fellow members in an honest, objective and responsible manner, giving due credit where necessary;
  5. Provide advice, express opinions or make statements honestly, objectively, impartially, expeditiously and reporting on the positive and the negative consequences of that advice.
  6. Perform work only in their areas of competence and to the best of their ability.
  7. Disclose to their employers or clients promptly and effectively all significant financial and other relevant interests with potential for providing conflict of interest or influencing the impartiality of any reports, advice or decisions.
  8. Respect the confidentiality of the information obtained in the course of their work as ergonomists, revealing such information to others only with the consent of the person(s) or organisation(s) or their legal representative(s).
  9. Actively assist and encourage the ongoing development of ergonomics; agree that non-compliance with the Code may be referred to the HFESA Board for determination.
  10. Agree that non-compliance with the Code may be referred to the HFESA Board for determination.

About Honours & Awards

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia presents nine national Awards that reflect outstanding achievement by individuals or groups for service to the society and the human factors and ergonomics profession, as well as to the research and application of human factors and ergonomics in Australia. Five of the Awards are name after founders of the Society who have been Presidents and Fellows of the Society.

The Executive of CHISIG, the Computer Human Interaction Special Interest Group of the Society, nominate a recipient for the CHISIG Medal. CHISIG also has an Award for the best paper at their annual OZCHI Conference that is named in honour of Gitte Lindgaard.

The HFESA Board and the Annual Conference Committee nominate the Society Medal and the Ron Cumming Memorial Lecturer, respectively. Members of the HFESA are invited to nominate eligible people for the remaining Awards. The David Ferguson Award requires the support and endorsement of the student’s supervisor.

The Honours and Awards Committee of the HFESA processes and endorses the Awards. All are based on merit and may not be bestowed every year. About Honours & Awards
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia presents nine national Awards that reflect outstanding achievement by individuals or groups for service to the Society and the human factors and ergonomics (HF/E) profession, as well as to the research and application of HF/E in Australia.

Five of the Awards are named after founders of the Society who have been Presidents and Fellows of the Society.

The HFESA Board nominates the Society Medal and the Annual Conference Committee nominates the Ron Cumming Memorial Lecturer. The Executive of the Computer Human Interaction Special Interest Group (CHISIG) nominates a recipient for the CHISIG Medal.

HFESA Members are invited to nominate eligible people for the remaining Awards. The David Ferguson Award requires the endorsement of the student’s supervisor.

The HFESA Honours and Awards Committee processes and endorses the Awards. All are based on merit and may not be awarded every year.

 

Awarded to a member of the Society in good standing for outstanding contribution to the Society and the HF/E profession over at least 10 years.

The Award is based on the assessment of the Honours and Awards Committee and ratified by the Society Board. The Award is in the form of a membership certificate showing Fellow.

Fellows of the Society:

Adams, Neil (Deceased)
Aickin, Christine
Blewett, Verna
Brown, David (Deceased)
Bullock, Margaret
Burgess-Limerick, Robin
Cameron, Colin
Caple, David
Cook, Margaret
Cumming, Ron (Deceased)
Evans, Owen
Ferguson, David (Deceased)
Frith, Jeffrey
Gibbs, Shirleyann
Gibson, Ian
Gladstones, William (Deceased)
Green, William
Hall Roger (Deceased)
Hoffmann, Errol (Deceased)
Horrigan, Ken
Lane, John (Deceased)
Lindgaard, Gitte
Macdonald, Wendy
McPhee, Barbara
Oxenburgh, Maurice
O’Keeffe, Valerie
Patkin, Michael
Provins, Ken (Deceased)
Stevenson, Michael
Triggs, Thomas (Deceased)
Welford, Alan (Deceased)
Whitby, Louise

The Executive of the Computer Human Interaction Special Interest Group (CHISIG) nominates a recipient for the CHISIG Medal. CHISIG also has an Award for the best paper at their annual OZCHI Conference named in honour of Gitte Lindgaard.

  • For outstanding service to and promotion of CHISIG over at least ten years.
  • Awarded to a member of the CHISIG in good standing, or a retired member of CHISIG.
  • Nominations can be submitted by any CHISIG member.
  • The Award is based on the collaborative assessment of the CHISIG Executive.
  • The Award is in the form of a medal suitably inscribed with the recipient’s name.

Past recipients

2006 Verna Blewett, Roger Hall, Judy Hammond, Gitte Lindgaard and Michael Patkin
2007 No medal awarded
2008 Steve Roberts and Steve Howard (Deceased)
2009 Greg Ralph
2010 Penny Collings and Toni Robertson
2011 Cécile Paris and Frank Vetere
2012 No medal awarded
2013 No medal awarded
2014 No medal awarded
2015 No medal awarded

About Gitte Lingaard

Professor Gitte Lindgaard has been the Chair in User-Centred Design and Director of the Human Oriented Technology Lab at Carleton University in Ottawa since January 2000. In this role she is overseeing a unique teaching and research programme in a university with one of the longest traditions of engagement in user-centred design.
With a PhD from Monash University and professional experience in the Telstra Research Labs, Professor Lindgaard has a particular awareness of the Australian context and has made substantial contributions to the study of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) in Australia.
Professor Lindgaard’s current research interests are in:

  • Modelling the Business Value of HCI;
  • Human judgement and decision making;
  • HCI in the design process;
  • Task analysis and task context;
  • User interface design and
  • Elements of pleasure, user satisfaction and usability.

 

The HFESA Society Medal is awarded annually at the HFESA National AGM for outstanding service to and promotion of the Society over at least seven years.

  • Awarded to a member of the Society in good standing.
  • The Award is based on the collaborative assessment of the Society President and the Honours and Awards Committee.
  • The Award is in the form of a medal inscribed with the recipient’s name.

Past recipients

1991 Alan Howie
1992 Phil Taylor
1993 Richard Rawling
1994 Jim Whiting
1995 Margaret Bullock
1996 not awarded
1997 Mike Stevenson
1998 Jim Carmichael
1999 Christine Aickin
2000 Jeffrey Frith
2001 David Caple
2002 Roger Hall
2003 Robin Burgess-Limerick
2004 Shirleyann Gibbs
2005 Barbara McPhee
2006 Verna Blewett
2007 Andrea Shaw
2008 Margaret Cook
2009 Neil L Adams, Snr
2010 Louise Whitby
2011 Jenni Miller
2012 Belinda Cox
2013 Christine Marks (nee Waring)
2014 Lenore Gunning
2015 Angela Summers
2016 Andrew Petersen
2017 Richard Sutherland
2018 Rodney Powell
2019 Maree Webber

The Barbara McPhee Mentoring Award is awarded biannually (during odd-numbered years) at the HFESA Annual Conference, commencing in 2017.

The criteria for this award include:

  • Awarded to a HFESA member in good standing.
  • The person submitting the award application has received mentoring from the person they are nominating for the award.
  • The award will be judged on a 500 word story about the mentor, the significance of their mentoring and the nature of the mentor relationship with the mentee. The story will be suitable for being read aloud during a HFESA award ceremony.
  • “Significance of mentoring” could include any of the following:
    • Promoting excellence in HF/E.
    • Advancement of knowledge within HF/E.
    • Providing career development or workforce opportunities above and beyond a conventional employer/employee or supervisor/student relationship.
    • Encouragement and support of service to HFESA.
  • “Nature of the mentor relationship with the mentee” could include any of the following:
    • Time commitments or other sacrifices made by the mentor.
    • The length of time of the mentor/mentee relationship (that is, the mentor needs to have provided more than one-off advice to the mentee).
  • The Award is in the form of a certificate for the mentor, and the story will be read out during the award ceremony for this award.

Past recipients

2017 Michael Stevenson
2018 Not awarded
2019 Marcia Lusted

The Margaret Bullock Award is awarded biannually (during odd-numbered years) at the HFESA Annual Conference, commencing in 2017.

The criteria for this award include:

  • For a major systematic program of HF/E related research or application that has led to demonstrable improvements in the safety, efficiency and/or usability of systems, products and/or environments.
  • This contribution may have been made at any time.
  • Awarded to an individual, group or organisation having relevant HF/E connection within Australia.
  • Covers the research or application carried out over a period of at least 5 to 10 years.
  • The award is in the form of a Certificate.

Past recipients

2019 Not awarded

 

The Alan Welford Award is awarded for the best paper on a HF/E topic published in a peer-reviewed journal within the previous 2 calendar years prior to the Award.

  • Awarded to an individual, or joint authorship, one of whom is a member of the Society.
  • The Award is based on the intrinsic merit of the paper itself and its readability for the target audience.
  • The Award is based on the intrinsic merit of the paper itself and its readability for the target audience.
  • The Award is in the form of a Certificate for each author.
  • From 2017 will be awarded biannually at the HFESA Conference in the even-numbered years.

Past recipients

2001 Jennifer Long and Roger Hall
2002 Roger Hall
2003 Leon Straker, Andrew Briggs and Alison Greig
2004 Leon Straker
2005 Catherine Cook, Robin Burgess-Limerick and Sophia Papalia
2006 not awarded
2007 Derek R Smith, Ning Wei, Yi-Jie Zhang, Rui-Sheng Wang
2008 Leon Straker and Abbott
2009 Leon Straker, J Coleman, R. skoss, B. Maslen, Robin Burgess-Limerick & Claire Pollock
2010 Errol Hoffmann
2011 Robin Burgess-Limerick, Veronica Krupenia, Christine Zupanc, Guy Wallis and Lisa Steiner
2012 Melissa Baysari, Johanna Westbrook, Katrina Richardson, Richard O’Day
2013 Not awarded
2014 Anjum Naweed
2014 Rebecca Mitchell, Ann Williamson, Brett Molesworth, Amy Chung
2015 John Towers, Robin Burgess-Limerick and Stephan Reik
2016 Johanna Westbrook, Li Leng, Elin Lehnbom, Melissa Baysari, Jeffrey Braithwaite, Rosemary Burke, Chris Conn & Richard Day
2018 Ari Antonovsky, Clare Pollock and Leon Straker
2020 Melissa T Baysari and Jodi Oakman

About Alan Welford (1914-1995)

Professor Alan Travis Welford, ScD (Camb), MA (Prin.), FASSA, 1968-1979, (Emeritus Professor 1979).

Alan was educated at University College School, London and at St John’s College, Cambridge. He started work as a research student at Cambridge and ended as adjunct Professor at the University of Hawaii. Following about 30 years in Cambridge, he was Professor of Psychology for a decade at the University of Adelaide.

Alan’s contribution to ergonomics was in the area of performance, skill and ageing and its impact on industry. He was interested in measuring performance at manipulatory tasks by recording time and errors in total and in parts or aspects of tasks. At the Nuffield Unit in Cambridge where Alan worked, researchers were also interested in what the subject said and the way they approached the task as well as the performance measures. At the time, this anecdotal evidence was considered contrary to proper and rigorous science.

For further information: Singleton. W. (1997) A T Welford – a commemorative review. Ergonomics, Vol 40, No2; 125-140.

The David Ferguson Award is awarded for the best postgraduate thesis or undergraduate honours thesis produced in the 24 months prior to the Award.

  • Awarded to an individual student enrolled in a relevant Australian University program of study.
  • The Award is based on a paper summarising the thesis, together with a supporting statement from the student’s supervisor.
  • The Award is in the form of a Certificate, plus one year’s appropriate membership of the Society.
  • From 2017, this is awarded biannually at the HFESA Conference in the odd-numbered years.

Past recipients

2002 Glen Lichtwark
2003 Grace Szeto
2004 Valerie O’Keeffe
2005 not awarded
2006 not awarded
2007 Veronica Thorsson
2008 Sue Lukersmith
2009 Clare Haselgrove
2010 Tang Chang
2011 Nadine Milgate and Edward Dohrmann
2012 Naomi Heaps
2013 Jennifer Long
2014 Kirsten Way
2015 Valerie O’Keeffe
2016 Alison Bell
2017 no nominations received
2018 Not awarded
2019 Andrea Ireland and Scott McLean

About David Ferguson

In 1976, David Ferguson became the first Professor of Occupational Health in Australia and in the 1960s, he was the first in the field to take up ergonomics and to promote it as an integral part of workers’ health and safety programs.

David was the founding father of the application of ergonomics to OHS in Australia. He was one of the founders of the Ergonomics Society of Australia (ESA, later renamed to HFESA) in the mid 1960s and helped to develop a strong professional and scientific image for ergonomics during its early years in Australia.

David did pioneering research on repetition injuries in factory workers and in telegraphists and published papers on this work in the early 1970s.

David was responsible for the introduction of lectures in ergonomics at the University of Sydney and also participated in and encouraged the development of ergonomics courses at the University of NSW and WorkSafe Australia.

The Ken Provins Award is awarded annually for the best paper presented during the Society’s Annual Conference for the year of the Award.

  • Awarded to individual or joint authorship, but not for a keynote speaker.
  • The Award is based on both the written paper and the oral presentation at the conference.
  • The Award is in the form of a Certificate for each author.

Past recipients

2000 Robin Burgess-Limerick
2001 Stephen Ward
2002 Leon Straker, Andrew Briggs and Alison Greig
2003 Jennifer Long and Carmen Sui
2004 Mark Hennessy
2005 Not awarded
2006 Not awarded
2007 Sonia Ranelli, Leon Straker and Anne Smith
2008 Melissa Baysari, Carlo Caponeccia and Andrew S McIntosh
2009 Not awarded
2010 Elise Crawford, Yvonne Toft and Ryan L Kift
2011 Daisy Veitch, Rachel Dawson, Harry Owen and Christopher Leigh
2012 Not awarded
2013 Lily Hirsch
2014 Not awarded
2015 Not awarded
2016 Not awarded
2017 Anjum Naweed and Janine Chapman
2018 Peter Schumacher
2019 Clare Dallat

About Ken Provins (1923-2013)

Ken Provins was educated at Wimbledon C.S., Brasenose College, Oxford in BA (Hons, Psychology & Physiology), MA (Oxon), and PhD (Reading). He completed War Service 1942-1946 in the Royal Air Force as a Pilot and Flying Instructor.

Ken was a member of the Physiological Research Unit at Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough in 1949-1952, and member of the Medical Research Unit at Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough in 1952-1962.

He was a Reader in Psychology at University of Adelaide in 1962-1968, then a Professor of Psychology at the Australian National University in 1968-1975. Ken was then the
Deputy Vice-chancellor at University of Adelaide in 1975-1980, and University Professor until his retirement in 1983. He was appointed as an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at University of Adelaide (Emeritus Professor) until moving to Brisbane in 1989. Ken then worked as an Honorary Research Consultant at University of Queensland in 1990-1999.

Ken was the organiser for the first Ergonomics Conference in Adelaide in 1964 and Secretary of the Steering Committee leading to the formation of the Ergonomics Society of Australia and New Zealand in 1966. He was elected to be one of the first four Fellows of the Society and served as the President in 1968-1970.

The Ron Cumming Memorial Lecture is awarded annually at the HFESA Annual Conference for highly esteemed HF/E-related research or application in a relevant area of HF/E.

  • Awarded to an Australian resident, preferably a member of the Society.
  • The Award is in the form of a Medal inscribed with the recipient’s name, together with the presentation of the Cumming Memorial Lecture at the Society’s Annual Conference for the year of the award.

Past recipients

1990 Michael O’Connell
1991 David Meister
1992 Peter Vulcan
1993 Meredith Wallace
1994 Jim Joy
1995 Bill Green
1996 Gitte Lindgaard
1997 Roger Hall
1998 John Lane
1999 Verna Blewett
2000 Tom Triggs
2001 Maurice Oxenburgh
2002 Michael Patkin
2003 Lynn McAtamney
2004 Robin Burgess-Limerick
2005 Wendy MacDonald
2006 Barbara McPhee
2007 Mark Dohrmann
2008 David Caple
2009 Michael Regan
2010 Greg Ralph
2011 Andrea Shaw
2012 Leon Straker
2013 Ann Williamson
2014 Penelope Sanderson
2015 Not Awarded
2016 Paul Salmon
2017 Stephen Ward
2018 Jim Knowles
2019 Frank Vetere

About Ron Cumming

Ronald William Cumming graduated BE (Aero) in 1942 from the University of Sydney. Ron began work at the newly established Aeronautical Research Laboratories (ARL) in applied aerodynamics. In the immediate post-war years he was head of the group working on the Griffith suction wing and had managerial responsibility for the wind tunnel. He spent 1949 in England at the National Physical Laboratory.

In 1956, ARL began undertaking research into operational aspects of aviation, what we would now call ergonomics. Ron was chosen to lead this new venture called the Human Engineering Group. The first operational problem he selected was the then-common, undershoot landing accident, which plagued large aircraft. This project eventually led to the T-VASIS landing aid, now used in this and other pacific countries. This work was recognised by the 1971 Prince Phillip Prize in Industrial Design and the 1974 Diploma d’Honneur of the Federation Aeronutique Internationale. An early paper foreshadowed the head-up display now standard on most military and some airline aircraft. It was about this time that Ron decided that piloting experience would provide necessary insights into operational problems and he undertook training leading to a commercial pilot licence.

In 1959, Ron studied with Paul Fitts at the University of Michigan in a much sought after graduate program. He was the first non-psychologist to be accepted. After one year, he returned with an AM and a wide knowledge of experimental psychology. This year’s work was to be the springboard for a second and third career.

On his return in 1960, Ron found himself associated with a small group of professionals, from a number of disciplines, who were concerned with applying the scientific method to the worsening problem of road accidents. He became a founding member and founding Chairman of the Human Factors Committee of the new Australian Road Research board. He conducted and supervised research for the Board over a number of years. Later, in a period of 11 years, he spent much time and effort on the successive committees which drafted the safety design rules for motor vehicles.

Upon the dispersion of the ARL, Ron moved to a Readership in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Melbourne. One of his commitments was the exposure of students from engineering, science, architecture, psychology and optometry to the elements of ergonomics. Work continued on road research projects. One of his theoretical innovations was the demonstration of a hysteresis effect in serial tasks.

His time at Melbourne continued until 1971, when, in a major shift in his career, he moved to a chair of psychology at Monash. Again transportation research was carried out: a major project for the Department of Transport concerned driver behaviour in relation to accidents. New interdisciplinary courses were developed, a notably successful one being decision-making in groups and society. He twice served as chairman of the Department of Psychology for extended periods.

From Monash he made a final change in direction – to academic management. From 1979 to 1982 he was Director of the Chisholm Institute of Technology (CIT). He gave strong support to the cause of engineering at CIT, then under some threat, and stimulated the introduction of areas in Industrial Engineering, Robotics and Digital Technology. His most difficult task concerned the amalgamation of CIT and Frankston State College.

His final appointment was as Visiting Professor in the University of Melbourne. He was also the first Australian Fellow of the (American) Human Factors Society. He was a founding member and early President (later a Fellow) of HFESA. He served on the Council of RMIT, on the Advisory Council of CSIRO and on a number of other bodies. He was appointed, in 1973, as one of the three Commissioners of the short-lived Road Safety and Standards Authority.

Ron was a man of broad interests and great ability. He had achievements in technological research in two distinct fields, in teaching, again in different disciplines, and in academic administration. His energy and enthusiasm inspired all who had the good fortune to work with him. Ron was elected to the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and in the Doctorate of Engineering (honoris causa) conferred on him, in 1983, by the University of Melbourne.

The John Lane Award is awarded for a major systematic contribution to advancing the science of HF/E and its application in Australia. This contribution may have been made at any time.

  • Awarded to an individual, group or organisation having relevant HF/E connection within Australia.
  • Covers the work carried out over several years during the last 5 to 10 years.
  • The Award is in the form of a Certificate.

In 2017 this award was combined with the Tom Triggs Award, and renamed the Margaret Bullock Award.

Past recipients

2001 Verna Blewett and Jonathon Talbot
2002 Monash University Accident Research Centre
2003 not awarded
2004 Robin Burgess-Limerick, Roxanne Egeskov, Clare Pollock and Leon Straker
2008 Andrea Shaw, Verna Blewett, Laurie Stiller, Christine Aickin, Drew Dawson, Sally Ferguson, Stephen Cox and Kaj Frick
2009 Not awarded
2010 Not awarded
2011 Not awarded
2012 Not awarded
2013 Not awarded
2014 Not awarded
2015 Anjum Naweed, Sophia Rainbird, Verna Blewtt, Lily Hirsch, Janine Chapman, Drew Dawson
2016 Melissa Baysari

About John Lane (1918-1999)

John Lane is recognised as the father of aviation safety in Australia and as a pioneer in road safety. His work in both fields was highly respected and acclaimed internationally. He received his early education at Scots College in Sydney where he was dux of the school. He graduated with honours in medicine from the University of Sydney in 1941 and then joined the RAAF. As a medical officer in the RAAF, John developed his interest in aviation medicine and the problems of high altitude flying. He was involved with the Catalina aircraft crews.

In 1948 John was appointed the inaugural Director of Aviation Medicine in the Commonwealth Department of Civil Aviation. He continued to develop the scientific approach and expanded contribution to air safety of the Branch until his retirement in 1983. He represented Australia at various meetings of the International Civil Aviation Organisation over a period of 25 years. During the 1950’s John was also involved in the development of the “T-VASIS” visual safe aircraft landing system at the Aeronautical Research Laboratories.

In 1957 John was awarded an Harkness Commonwealth Fellowship which enabled him to qualify for a Master of Public Health Degree at Harvard University in the United States. This provided the foundation for much of the epidemiological research that he conducted over the next 40 years. In 1960, he was trained as a space surgeon by the US Airforce and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which led to his appointment as Australian aeromedical monitor in the manned space flight program.

In 1962, as John Glenn orbited Australia in Friendship 7, Dr John Lane monitored his heartbeat, blood pressure and other vital signs. He was one of the Australian aeromedical monitors for the United States’ manned space flight program and performed these important tasks for John Glenn’s first flight and the other astronauts in both the Mercury and Gemini space programs.

John was a founding member of the Aviation Medical Society of Australia and New Zealand and of the Ergonomics Society of Australia, being its second President. He was very active in both Societies’ activities throughout his career.

In addition to his duties in the Department of Civil Aviation, John developed an interest in applying a scientific approach to road safety. In 1961, he became a foundation member of the Human Factors Committee of the Australian Road Research Board. During the 18 years of his membership the committee sponsored much of Australia’s early road safety research. From 1961 to 1975 he was a member of the Traffic Injury Committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council.

After his retirement as Director of Aviation Medicine, John became a Principal Research Fellow at the Monash University Accident Research Centre, where he continued his research and acted as a mentor to many younger researchers. In 1985 John became a Member of the Order of Australia for services to aviation medicine and road safety standards.

The Tom Triggs Award is awarded for a major systematic program of HF/E-related research that has led to demonstrable improvements in the safety, efficiency and/or usability of systems, products and/or environments.

  • This contribution may have been made at any time.
  • Awarded to an Australian resident, preferably a member of the Society.
  • Covers the research carried out over a period of at least 5 to 10 years.
  • The award is in the form of a medal suitably inscribed with the recipient’s name and awarded at the Society’s Annual Conference for the year of the award.

In 2017 this award was combined with the John Lane Award, and renamed the Margaret Bullock Award.

Past recipients

2013 Roger Hall
2014 Robin Burgess-Limerick
2015 Not awarded
2016 Not awarded

About Tom Triggs (1939-2012)

Emeritus Professor Thomas J. Triggs (Tom Triggs), a mathematician, aeronautical engineer and applied experimental psychologist by training, was a distinguished international figure in human factors. He was a researcher, lecturer and research leader who mentored and nurtured many in the HF/E profession. Tom held many roles within the HFESA, including President. Tom was a Fellow of the HFESA and of the HFES in the USA and was a recipient of both the Ron Cumming Memorial Medal (2000) and Alan Welford Award (2002).

Tom’s career paralleled, in many ways, that of the late Professor Ron Cumming, who was one of his professional mentors. Tom studied aeronautical engineering at Sydney University and, like Ron Cumming, went on to do a PhD in applied experimental psychology and human factors at the University of Michigan in the United States under Professor Paul Fitts. He worked for a short while with Ron Cumming at the Aeronautical Research Laboratory in Melbourne on, among other things, visual landing aids for pilots. One of these is used world-wide.

Tom spent the early years of his career in the United States and held a number of senior roles as a human factors researcher and research leader with several major companies, including Boeing, Battelle and Bolt, Beranek & Newman. Tom joined Monash University in Melbourne in 1973 and was promoted to Professor and head of department – and, on retirement, as Emeritus Professor. He taught applied experimental psychology and human factors to thousands of students and became internationally recognised for his research on attention, decision making, young driver safety, driver training and driving simulator research.

Tom introduced driving simulators to Australia in the late 1980s and was one of the three original founders of the Monash University Accident Research Centre – MUARC – in Melbourne. He was Deputy Director of the Centre for more than 20 years. His human factors research spanned many domains, including road and aviation safety, driver and pilot performance and process control in nuclear power operations. There are many people in the HFESA and elsewhere who benefited from his intellect, wisdom, knowledge and kindness.

As a legacy to his significant contribution to human factors in Australia and to the Society and, in recognition of his untiring devotion to intellectual rigour in human factors research, his desire to see research translated into action and his nurturing of so many junior colleagues and students, the Tom Triggs Memorial Medal was endorsed by the Board in August 2013.

What is Ergonomics?

Definition and Applications

The word ergonomics —“the science of work” — is derived from the Greek ergon (work) and nomos (laws). The terms ergonomics and human factors are often used interchangeably or as a unit (e.g., human factors / ergonomics – HFE or EHF) a practice that is adopted by the IEA. The definition of ergonomics (or human factors) adopted by the IEA in 2000 is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data, and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.

Domains of HFE were also defined in 2000 to include – Physical ergonomics is concerned with human anatomical, anthropometric, physiological and biomechanical characteristics as they relate to physical activity. (Relevant topics include working postures, materials handling, repetitive movements, work-related musculoskeletal disorders, workplace layout, physical safety and health.)

Cognitive ergonomics is concerned with mental processes, such as perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response, as they affect interactions among humans and other elements of a system. (Relevant topics include mental workload, decision making, skilled performance, human-computer interaction, human reliability, work stress, and training as these may relate to human-system design.)

Organizational ergonomics is concerned with the optimization of sociotechnical systems, including their organizational structures, policies, and processes. (Relevant topics include communication, crew resource management, work design, design of working times, teamwork, participatory design, community ergonomics, cooperative work, new work paradigms, virtual organizations, telework, and quality management.)

Although HFE practitioners often work within particular economic sectors, industries, or application fields, the science and practice of HFE is not domain-specific.  HFE is a multi-disciplinary, user-centric integrating science. The issues HFE addresses are typically systemic in nature; thus HFE uses a holistic, systems approach to apply theory, principles, and data from many relevant disciplines to the design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, products, environments, and systems.  HFE takes into account physical, cognitive, sociotechnical, organizational, environmental and other relevant factors, as well as the complex interactions between the human and other humans, the environment, tools, products, equipment, and technology.

In order to practice effectively, human factors and ergonomics professionals who are specialists in a given domain or discipline must address issues and challenges with sufficient consideration of all of the relevant elements of HFE. This assumes a broad understanding of other HFE areas; however, actual problem solving requires participatory approaches through consultation with HFE specialists in different domains as well as specialists in other relevant fields.

 HFE Principles

HFE principles are rooted in socio-technical values. HFE participatory design principles and methodologies apply across the design of tasks, jobs, products, environments, industries and types of work. HFE principles are rooted in essential core values-2,3

  • humans as assets
  • technology as a tool to assist humans,
  • promotion of quality of life,
  • respect for individual differences, and
  • responsibility to all stakeholders.

HFE Perspectives

HFE encompasses not only physical safety and health but also the cognitive and psycho-social aspects of living and working. Additionally, HFE can focus on microergonomic aspects of design – including design of the procedures, the context, and the equipment and tools used to perform tasks – as well as macroergonomicaspects of design – including the work organization, types of jobs, technology used, and work roles, communication and feedback.3,4 These various aspects cannot be viewed in isolation.  HFE reflects a holistic perspective toward the design of products and systems, considering the interrelatedness of human, technical, and environmental components and the potential effects of system design changes on all parts of the system.

Participation in system design

HFE contributes to safe and sustainable systems through a unique combination of three drivers for intervention –

(1) HFE takes a systems approach, using a systematic, iterative, step-by-step process;

(2) HFE is design-driven; and

(3) HFE focuses on optimizing two closely related outcomes, performance and well-being.3

HFE practitioners recognize the need for participation of all stakeholder groups (participatory human factors and ergonomics) in system design. Effective HFE is indispensable to support our life and work in the 21st century; without attention to HFE, system design will not support the sustainability of work, organizations, or societies.

Stakeholders of HFE

Any person or group of people that can affect, be affected, or perceive themselves to be affected by an HFE decision or activity is a stakeholder of HFE. Stakeholders are inter-related and include –

  • System influencers – e.g., competent authorities such as governments, regulators, standardization organizations at national and regional levels.
  • System decision makers – e.g., employers and managers, those who make decisions about requirements for the system design, purchasing system, implementation and use;
  • System experts – e.g., professional HFE specialists, professional engineers and psychologists who contribute to the design of systems based on their specific professional backgrounds;
  • System actors – e.g., employees/workers, product/service users, who are part of the system and who are directly or indirectly affected by its design and who, directly or indirectly, affect its performance.5

Stakeholders for HFE can represent many levels, domains, and types of influence and investment, such as –

  • International level – regulatory officials and policy makers, International NGOs
  • National level – government, law and policy makers, regulators, national NGOs
  • Educational level – universities, applied sciences programs, vocational education, professors, teachers, students
  • Practice level – CEOs and managers in companies, designers of work and work systems in different fields, practitioners in domains relevant to HFE.

 Value of HFE in the world of work

Work systems are made up of humans, the tools, processes, and technologies they use, and the work environment. HFE contributes to the creation of safe and sustainable work systems by considering the interrelatedness of human, technical, and environmental components and the potential effects of work system design changes on all parts of the system. Members of the HFE community recognize the need for participation of all stakeholder in system design groups (i.e., Participatory HFE).

HFE simultaneously contributes to the economic health of organizations by enhancing worker well-being, capability and sustainability, maximizing performance, and reducing direct costs as well as indirect costs from productivity losses, quality deficiencies, and employee turnover. Workplaces that are designed with HFE principles have better employee performance and produce better business results. HFE design in work systems is simply and unquestionably good business.6

Resources cited –

  1. Bridger, R. S. (2018). Introduction to Human Factors and Ergonomics, 4th Edition. Boca Raton, FL, USA.  CRC Press.
  2. Read, G.J.M., Salmon, P.M., Goode, N., & Lenné, M.G. (2018). A sociotechnical design toolkit for bridging the gap between systems‐based analyses and system design.Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries,28(6), 327-341.
  3. Principles and Guidelines for HF/E Design and Management of Work Systems. (2019) Joint Document by IEA and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
  4. Wilson, J. R. (2014). Fundamentals of systems of ergonomics/human factors. Applied Ergonomics (45), 5-13.
  5. Dul, J., Bruder, R., Buckle, P., Carayon, P., Falzon, P., Marras, W. S., Wilson, J. R., & van der Doelen, B.(2012). A strategy for human factors/ergonomics: Developing the discipline and profession,Ergonomics, 55:4, 377-395, DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2012.661087
  6. Hendrick, H. W. (2003). Determining the cost-benefits of ergonomics projects and factors that lead to their success. Applied Ergonomics, 34, 419-427.