Fundamentals of Human Factors and Ergonomics (ERG100)


Instructors: Meg Honan, RPT, MS, CPE & Melissa Afterman, MS-HFE, CPE
August 27 – October 19, 2018 (Online)

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This course presents fundamental concepts from multiple disciplines that are essential to practicing ergonomics. The course begins with core topics from anatomy, kinesiology and the physiology of work as applied to human abilities and limitations. The class continues with an exploration of biomechanics, anthropometry, physical and psychosocial ergonomic risk factors and analytic methods to mitigate risk exposure. Finally, cognitive and macro ergonomics models are introduced along with considerations for the professional ergonomist. Pulling these pieces together ensures a comprehensive approach to Human Factors and Ergonomics to both minimize injury and optimize worker performance. Students will evaluate different environments based on the concepts introduced in this course.

Register here to enroll in ERG 100

Course Learning Outcomes:

  • Define ergonomics and the various disciplines that contribute to the field

  • Apply knowledge of basic human anatomy, biomechanics, physiology and kinesiology to a human’s capacity to do work

  • Identify and quantify the demands of work in terms of primary physical risk factors associated with work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)

  • Summarize other factors that are associated with work related MSDs such as personal and work psychosocial factors

  • Illustrate proper application of anthropometric measurements for analysis and design

  • Identify and apply common risk assessment tools to evaluate physical exposures

  • Compare the physical demands of a task to human capacity and ergonomics guidelines and identify mismatches that indicate risk

  • Perform a basic risk analysis of the design of existing controls and displays

  • Perform a root cause analysis of observed ergonomic risk factors

  • Demonstrate knowledge of ergonomic approaches to the redesign of work by developing controls that reduce hazards and mitigate risk

  • Calculate a simple return-on-investment to support a proposed solution

  • Describe macro ergonomics and participatory approaches to surveillance, assessment and controls to prevent MSDs and optimize performance in a large workforce

  • Plan a path to certification or employment in the field of ergonomics

  • Demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of the science of human factors and ergonomics and ethical responsibility in practice

Instructor Information:

Meg Honan, MS, PT, CPE 

 2018 Meg headshot

As principle ergonomist at Genentech, Inc. in South San Francisco, Meg engages leadership and interdisciplinary teams in participatory ergonomics, including continuous improvement in workplace and equipment design, process and production engineering as well as health and safety. Her work experience includes employee work area and work method assessment, training employees to become “Ergo-Advocates” not only in the office setting, but within manufacturing, laboratory and field operations and how mobile devices, unassigned work environments and flexible work have transformed workplace ergonomics. Early research focused on keyboard design. Meg is Physical Therapist and has a Master’s in Environmental Health Sciences/Ergonomics from University of California, Berkeley. She is a Board Certified Professional Ergonomist.

Melissa Afterman, MS-HFE, CPE 


Melissa Afterman is a consulting ergonomist working in Northern California. Her work focuses on program development, risk assessment and mitigation for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies supporting office and mobile knowledge workers and also for laboratory and plant tools, tasks and processes. Melissa earned her Bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly SLO in BioResource/Agricultural Engineering and her Master’s degree in Human Factors/Ergonomics Engineering from San Jose State University.  She is a board Certified Professional Ergonomist and regularly shares the learnings from her practice at local and national ergonomics conferences.

Course Format: 

This asynchronous online course engages students with weekly activities posted on the course site.  Each week students will read and/or watch resource materials, take online quizzes and participate in online discussion forums; forums are monitored by the course instructors. There is no required textbook, but some reference books are recommended and sections of texts are provided and assigned. Students will complete individual and paired assignments as outlined in the course schedule. The information needed to complete the assignments and prepare for the quizzes and final exam will be included in the resource material on the course site. Online quizzes will be completed subsequent to the pertinent modules, as listed in the course schedule. There is an online final exam. Grades are determined by participation in assignments and discussions and performance on quizzes and the final exam.

Register here to enroll in ERG 100