CPE Process

The CPE Process flowchart describes the steps required to become a Certified Professional Ergonomist.

Certified Professional Ergonomist

Certified Professional Ergonomists have been certified by HFESA and have demonstrated that they have the skills and experience to provide high quality and consistent advice and support in the area of HFE.

CPE is the highest level of HFE status awarded in Australia. A CPE can act as an expert witness in court.


Domains of specialisation

Derived from the Greek words ‘ergon’ (work) and ‘nomos’ (laws) to denote the science of work, HFE is a systems-oriented discipline which now extends across all aspects of human activity. Practising HFE professionals must have a broad understanding of the full scope of the discipline. That is, HFE promotes a holistic approach in which considerations of physical, cognitive, social, organisational, environmental and other relevant factors are taken into account. HFE professionals often work in many sectors or application domains. Application domains are not mutually exclusive and they evolve constantly; new ones are created and old ones take on new perspectives.

There are domains of specialisation within the discipline, which represent deeper competencies in specific human attributes or characteristics of human interaction.

Domains of specialisation within the HFE discipline are broadly the following:


Physical Ergonomics

Physical ergonomics (HFE) is concerned with human anatomical, anthropometric, physiological and biomechanical characteristics that relate to physical activity. Relevant topics include working postures, materials handling, repetitive movements, work-related musculoskeletal disorders, workplace layout, safety and health.


Cognitive Ergonomics

Cognitive ergonomics (HFE) is concerned with mental processes, such as perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response that 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.


Organisational Ergonomics

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.) Organisational Ergonomics
Organisational ergonomics (HFE) is concerned with the optimisation of sociotechnical systems, including their organisational 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 organisations, telework, and quality management.


Source: International Ergonomics Society (IEA) http://www.iea.cc/whats/index.html

A small logo indicating CPE status is available for use by certified members of the Society on professional correspondence.

CPE Member Statements

Evolved professions like for example engineering, psychology, physiotherapy or medicine work to ensure their reputation is protected and that their members work to a high standard and within an ethical framework. Society expects a high standard of service from these professions and the use and maintenance of certification arrangements protects the professions. Certification as an ergonomist enables an evidence based standard of service that society can trust and thereby the profession is protected. There is a value proposition for both parties (society and the ergonomist) in this process. 

In addition, certain industries seek to ensure that only ergonomists that have achieved a peer reviewed standard are engaged to provide advice. We already see the courts recognising Certified Professional Ergonomists for expert witness work. Large corporates are moving toward the use of certified ergonomists and human factors professionals to ensure they have defensible evidence based advice for use with regulators and in any litigation. The safety profession is moving toward registration of practitioners for certain industries and this will see a shift in the provision of advice, including ergonomics related advice. So where should one choose to be positioned in this evolving landscape?

Stephen Hehir, CPE