Module Overview

Ergonomics and Human Factors

This module deals with the main topics in the field of Ergonomics and Human Factors relating to Physical, Cognitive and Organizational Ergonomics. The students will be introduced to the requirements and methods to design and evaluate products, processes, activities, organisations and environments taking account of human characteristics, limitations, needs and capabilities, such that performance, health and wellbeing are optimised. On completion of the module the students will develop an understanding and the capacity to apply in a work environment the practical principles of Ergonomics to improve a selected case study. The module is motivated by the expressed needs of the Irish Ergonomics society to have more level 9 courses covering the topics in Ireland. Specialist skills in Ergonomics and Human Factors will be developed, as well as improving communications, decision making, analytical and critical thinking, reflective thinking and using professional judgement skills in a work-related curriculum.

Module Code

TFSM 9020

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

Introduction to Ergonomics

  • Introduction to Ergonomics (physical ergonomics, organisational ergonomics and cognitive ergonomics or Human Computer Interaction)
  • Work design and distribution of functions between human and machine/systems
  • Automation approaches and theories
  • Group supported corroborative work

Physical Ergonomics

  • Introduction to Physiology and Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Risk Factors That Contribute to Musculoskeletal disorders/injuries
  • Populations and General Human Characteristics
  • Health and Safety at Work Act relevant to ergonomic issues in a workplace setting
  • Common methods for physical ergonomics risk assessment (e.g. RULA, REBA, HSE ART, NIOSH EQUATION & Modified NIOSH EQUATION , HSE MAC, HSE RAPP)

Human Computer Interaction (HCI) – gathering and analysing user requirements

  • What are user requirements?
  • Identifying and analysing user requirements
  • Introduction to task analysis
  • HCI and accessibility
  • Participatory techniques – envisionment workshops, role-play etc.
  • User testing
  • Heuristic evaluation

Introduction to socio-technical systems

  • Socio-technical systems (e.g. process and sub-process, process relationships and dependencies, tasks, task workflows, team work and work distribution, human agents, technical agents (e.g. systems/tools), information and information flow, automation etc.

Accident and Human Factors: main fields of analysis

  • Role of Human Factors- Overview of different areas– Human Computer Interaction & Ergonomics, Safety Management Systems, Error Taxonomies, Risk Management & Training          
  • Human Factors and Major accidents: immediate causes and root causes

Human Error and Organizational Factors

  • Human Error Taxonomies
  • Classification systems for root causes linked to human error
  • Accident analysis and follow up activities in Safety Management: a case study

Human Factors in Risk Assessment (quick recap on what was covered in the Risk Assessment course)

  • Human Reliability Analysis (HRA): first generation engineering approaches, more cognitive oriented approaches, socio-technical system approaches.


  • Summary of main concepts underpinning Human Factors analysis

Summary of the main relevant areas of application for Human Factors Analysis

Face-to-face lectures will be delivered and students will learn through in-class activities and discussions based on guided out-side contact hours reading and research. Self-directed learning is encouraged using tutorial questions, use of on-line resources and self-reflection.


This module will be delivered multimodally, with the student choosing one of two options; Hyflex or attendance in class.  Content can also be delivered  as pre-recorded video or as required pre-reading of selected peer reviewed papers, articles, case studies or past dissertations


Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Other Assessment(s)100