At the end of the semester, students must be able to:

  • design work systems taking into account the person''''s physical-motor characteristics and limitations
  • evaluate postures; design work stations based on anthropometric criteria
  • design/adapt activities to prevent fatigue (static and dynamic)
  • organize manual handling operations in order to prevent low back disorders, fatigue, and musculoskeletal disorders
  • communicate with companies'''' safety specialists

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Ana Teresa Martins Videira Gabriel, Isabel Maria Nascimento Lopes Nunes


Weekly - 2

Total - 32

Teaching language



Not applicable. There are no special requirements.


  • • Bush PM.Ergonomics–foundational principles,applications,and technologies.Taylor & Francis,2011
    • Kroemer K.Fitting the Human.7th ed.Taylor & Francis,2017
    • Lehto MR,Buck JR.Introduction to human factors and ergonomics for engineers.Taylor & Francis,2008
    • Marras WS.Occupational ergonomics:design and management of work systems,2003
    • Oborne DJ.Ergonomics at work:human factors in design and development.3rd ed.John Wiley & Sons,1995
    • Pheasant S.Bodyspace.2nd ed.Taylor & Francis,1999
    • Salvendy G.Handbook of human factors and ergonomics.2nd ed.John Wiley & Sons,1997
    • Stack T et al.Occupational ergonomics–a practical approach.John Wiley & Sons,2016
    • Stanton NA et al. A guide to methodology in ergonomics:designing for human use.Taylor & Francis,1999
    • Wilson JR,Corlett EN.Evaluation of human work:a practical ergonomics methodology. 2nd ed.Taylor & Francis,1995

Teaching method

Um the classes, the contents are presented to the students using the data show and the blackboard. The students are encouraged to intervene and interact with the lecturer, with a view to assessing their knowledge on human factors and interrelated matters. Um addiction, exercises and examples are discussed in order to consolidate, simulate or train the main topics.

Evaluation method

The final grade is calculated using the following criteria:

• 65% 1 individual test or final exam. The rating must be higher than 9,5.
• 35% of practical work. Delivery of group works (outside the classes). 5%P1; 5%P2; 25%P3 (report+oral presentation). The average grade must be higher than 9,5.

Subject matter

1. Introduction to Ergonomics. Definition, domains, and connection to the industry.

2. Fundamentals of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics. Reference position. Reference plans. Musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Joints, muscles, posterior trunk, and members. The human body movement.

3. Anthropometry, working postures, and the design of workstations: introduction to anthropometry; statistical description of human variability; types of work postures; postures severity (reference angles). Consequences of the inappropriate anthropometric design to the operator and to the activity. Guidelines to design workstations.

4. Ergonomic analysis of work. EN1005-4:2005 e A1:2008. Assessing methods: RULA, REBA, OWAS, and NIOSH guidelines.

5. Physical overload at work: definition, physiological principles, and causes of muscular fatigue. Types of muscular work. Types of muscle fatigue in the work context. Localized muscle fatigue in static and dynamic activities. Recovery time. Direct and indirect methods to evaluate muscle fatigue. The questionnaires to diagnose fatigue symptoms. The CR10 and Borg RPE questionnaires.

6. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Impact on the industry. Risk factors. Most common disorders in the upper limbs, neck, and back. Temporary and persistent symptoms. Prevention principles (OSHA 2255).

7. Repetitive tasks. Their relation with work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Risk factors. Ergonomic interventions. Analysis methods: Strain Index and OCRA.

8. Manual handling of loads. Postural control during dynamic tasks. Types of manual handling loads: carry, lift, pull and push. The ISO 11228-1:2003 methodology to evaluate the risk of low back pain. Prevention of disorders: biomechanical models, intra-abdominal pressure, revised NIOSH lifting equation. Planning tasks that involve manual handling loads: reference values related to push and pull activities; the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) recommendations.

9. Manual handling of tools and their associated risks to muscle fatigue and disorders. The Cube model for risk assessment of fatigue and professional disorders related to manual handling of tools. Guidelines to choose the adequate tools. Guidelines to design workstations with manual handling of tools.


Programs where the course is taught: