If you’re looking for an expert in ergonomics and human factors, you
could start by defining your needs and matching them to details in our directory of consultancies.
We maintain a directory of ‘Registered Consultancies’. All those in
this directory have been assessed by us against a strict set of
professional and business criteria. This helps to maintain the high
standard of membership of the Institute and provides a level of
assurance to those employing a consultancy from this list. Some
consultancies may take on a wide range of work and some may specialise.
They all have different project experience and different expertise and
each consultancy has its own details on this website that you can read
before deciding which one to contact. If you have not commissioned an
ergonomist or human factors professional from a consultancy before, the
following step-by-step advice might be useful to you.
1. Think about why you need a consultant
There may be one or more simple reasons, such as…
- One of your staff is complaining of aches and pains and you think that some advice about their workplace set up may help.
- You want to fulfill your legal obligations and have your staff
trained in recognising, assessing and reducing risks to their health and
Or the reasons may be more difficult to define, such as…
- You think that your industrial processes could be made more efficient but you’re not sure where and how changes should be made.
- You are designing a new product or redesigning an existing one and
you need to organise some questionnaires and user trials but your
resources are limited.
Try to list your key requirements and to prioritise them.
2. Look at our list of areas of work and try to match them to your needs
Ergonomics and human factors can be applied to a vast range of work
and leisure situations and we have categorised different ‘areas of work’
which each require certain expertise. Each Registered Consultancy is
asked to pick their top 10 areas of work that best reflects their
experience and skills. Look through the list at the end of this page and
try to identify which area of work most closely matches your needs.
You’ll find examples of work situations given with each area. You can
then use the area of work and keywords to search the list. There will be
a number of consultancies that will have selected a particular area of
work so you will need to look up the details of each one to make a
choice about who to contact.
3. Think about other aspects which are important to you
Each consultancy is listed with details of the contact’s name,
telephone and email, where the business is based, when it was set up,
how many ergonomists and human factors professionals it employs and an
overview of the type of work that it does. There is also a complete list
of the consultancy’s chosen areas of work. While most consultants will
be happy to travel to wherever the work is, you might prefer to contact
an one who is based near you.
4. Make a list of at least three consultancies that fit your needs
You should have a shortlist so that you can get further information
from each consultancy and make a choice based on fees charged or
availability, for example.
5. Contact each consultancy on your shortlist
Preferably make contact with the ergonomist by telephone as it will
be easier and quicker to discuss your requirements, especially if you’re
still unsure as to exactly what work it is that you need carried out.
If the work appears to be fairly straightforward, such as an office
workstation assessment, for example, you may be able to decide who you
want to do the work at this stage. You may be able to make arrangements
for a meeting or visit at the same time, and agree costs and timescales.
However, if the work is to be a larger project or appears to be more
complex, you will probably need to carry out the following steps.
6. Prepare a written brief which sets out your needs as clearly and concisely as possible
Don’t be too specific about particular methods or techniques unless
you’re sure about them, but give as much detail as you can. The
consultant will usually need to gain a good understanding of the work
before deciding which methods will be appropriate. You may also find it
useful to ask for any company brochures or other literature.
7. Invite written proposals against the brief from each consultancy on your shortlist
The proposals that consultancies supply will clearly describe the
methods that they will use and the rationale for them, the costs and
timescales, and examples of their experience on similar projects. In
some cases, it may be helpful for the consultant to meet you, preferably
in the workplace where the work is to be carried out, in order to gain a
better understanding of the issues before quoting.
8. Review the proposals and make your decision
Don’t worry about contacting a consultant to further discuss the work
before you make a decision, they will be happy to talk it over with
you. Once you have decided who you would like to carry out the work,
contact them and send a written confirmation of the work and agreed fees
9. If you’re still unsure, call us for further advice
We may be able to offer you further assistance directly or to put you
in touch with an someone who is happy to discuss the work of
ergonomists and human factors professionals more generally, so contact us for further advice.
Areas of work
Area of work: Computer terminals – design and layout
Do your staff suffer from repetitive strain injuries of the wrist, or
back pain as a result of using their computer? Ergonomists can make them
more comfortable and productive by helping them to adjust and arrange
their computer and workstation to better suit them and their work, and
to comply with the Display Screen Equipment Regulations. Ergonomists can
help you to select suitable seating and other office furniture and
Keywords: design and layout of computer products and peripherals;
computer terminal workstations; display screen equipment and
regulations; display screen health and safety; DSE and manual handling;
compliance surveys; DSE ergonomics assessments; VDUs and offices.
Area of work: Office ergonomics and design
Your office space costs you money. Are you using it most effectively?
Ergonomists can assess your business work flow, staff communications and
storage requirements and advise you how to increase work efficiency,
and staff productivity and comfort.
Keywords: office automation; office and office equipment design; office design ergonomics; DSE ergonomics.
Area of work: Computer software ergonomics
Do you find your bespoke computer programmes frustrating or difficult to
use? Ergonomists can suggest improvements in data input, screen layout,
navigation and overall system design.
Keywords: software design; software development; software ergonomics; implementation and usability.
Area of work: Human Computer Interface design and assessment
Do you need some input on human sensory and cognitive capabilities in
order to ensure that your interface and instructions are easy to use and
understand? Ergonomists can provide you with data and examples to
optimise your design and suggest and run effective user trials.
Keywords: design and development of human-computer interfaces;
knowledge-based systems; production of human-computer interface style
guides; HCI/MMI prototyping; GUI prototyping.
HEALTH & SAFETY
Area of work: Risk assessment: various work situations
Are you and your staff aware of all potential risks in your workplace?
Risk assessment is a vital part of any health and safety programme but
it doesn’t stop there. Risks must be reduced and managed. Ergonomists
can help you to identify risks and take appropriate action and can help
in the education of your workforce.
Keywords: risk and cost-benefit analysis; risk assessment and risk management; risk perception; general musculoskeletal risk.
Area of work: Manual handling of loads: safety and training
Incorrect techniques used in lifting and moving loads can increase the
risk of injury to your workers. Ergonomists can help you to assess the
manual handling requirements in your workplace and can suggest practical
solutions involving staff training, load design, and lifting and moving
aids and equipment.
Keywords: manual handling assessment and training; manual handling and lifting; manual handling of loads.
Area of work: Work related musculoskeletal problems
Do you or your staff suffer from aches and pains or other symptoms that
seem to be brought on by your work? These might occur in the hands,
arms, or back or other areas depending on the work and workstation
layout involved. Ergonomists can help you to investigate problems and
suggest measures for risk reduction including workplace layout,
equipment design, job rotation and staff awareness.
Keywords: musculoskeletal disorders; repetitive strain injury;
management of work-related musculoskeletal problems; upper limb
Area of work: Accidents, health and safety at work
Do you need some help with investigation of a workplace accident? Do you
have complex health and safety issues? Ergonomists can help you to
gather data about hazard perception and ergonomic approaches to health
and safety implementation.
Keywords: accidents and safety; accident investigations; accident
reconstructions; health and safety; healthcare ergonomics; hazard
analysis; health and safety issues; the application of health and safety
legislation; industrial work stress; machine guarding; safety culture
and safety management; safety culture evaluation and improvement; alarms
and warnings technology; probabilistic safety analysis.
Area of work: Human reliability
You can identify and learn from shortcomings and take steps to improve
your business by investigating incidents and accidents. Ergonomists can
assess your staff’s abilities and limitations in relation to their work
and their potential for error. They can help you to increase your
workers’ reliability and reduce the likelihood and consequences of
Keywords: human error and reliability; human error analysis; human
factors audits; human factors integration; human reliability assessment.
Area of work: Training for management and staff
Ergonomists can assess your training requirements and tailor and deliver
courses in ergonomics, health & safety, manual handling, risk
assessment etc., to ensure that you receive training that is highly
relevant and meaningful.
Keywords: ergonomics training; general training; cognitive
skills/decision taking; training engineers; training in STUDIO; training
modules; training needs analysis.
Area of work: Expert witnesses: various work situations
Ergonomists can help with investigation of workplace problems which have
led to accidents and injury. They can act as expert witnesses for the
defence, prosecution or as a joint expert.
Keywords: expert witness investigations; forensic ergonomics; industrial
compensation claims; injury litigation; injury causation; litigation
INDUSTRIAL DESIGN AND WORK
Area of work: Design and layout of displays and controls
Ergonomists can assess work flow and work load and suggest design and
layout improvements to control rooms and control equipment. This can
increase work efficiency and reduce the potential for errors in reading
displays or operating controls.
Keywords: selection and design of controls and information displays.
Area of work: Design of control rooms
Successful control room design requires a detailed understanding of both
technical considerations and operator abilities and interaction.
Ergonomists can help you assess user needs and develop plans, and carry
out user trials.
Keywords: console and control room layout and design; control room ergonomics.
Area of work: Industrial design applications
Ergonomists can look at seating and workstation design to help you to
maximise production quality whilst ensuring that staff can work
efficiently and comfortably.
Keywords: information design; market/user research; medical equipment;
seat design and comfort; seating design and specifications; furniture
specification and selection.
Area of work: Industrial/commercial workplace design
Is your manufacturing plant as efficient as it could be? Ergonomists can
analyse job and task design, workplace and workstation design, and
workload and suggest changes to benefit workers and the business.
Keywords: industrial workplace design; industrial ergonomics; job design
and work organisation; anthropometry and workplace design; workplace
and workstation design; warnings, labels and instructions; workload
Area of work: Product design and consumer ergonomics
Do you really know who your ‘users’ are and what they really want from
your product? Ergonomists can help give you that competitive edge by
identifying your users and their needs and incorporating this knowledge
into your design at an early stage. They can help you to ensure that
your product will be safe and ‘fit for purpose’.
Keywords: ergonomics sales and marketing; product design and testing;
product ergonomics; product development; product liability and safety;
product defects; product education material; personal protective
Area of work: Usability assessment
Prototyping and user testing are vitally important stages of product
design and development in today’s competitive markets. Do you know your
‘users’ and their abilities and limitations? Ergonomists can set up and
carry out user trials to ensure that your products are ‘user-friendly’.
Keywords: usability assessment and testing; usability audits; usability
evaluation; usability training; trials and verification; simulation and
trials; simulation development; simulation and prototyping.
Area of work: User requirements and guidance
You may already produce great products but does your information design
receive as much attention as your product design? Complex products can
be made simpler by the provision of easy to use and understand
instructions. Ergonomists can advise on language, layout, use of
graphics, use of colour etc. to ensure that users can appreciate the
features and functions of your products.
Keywords: user documentation; user guidance; user manuals and
instructions; user interface design and prototyping; user requirements
analysis and specification; conduct of user trials.
Area of work: Anatomy and anthropometry in human activities
Ergonomists can assess and design your workplace to meet the needs of
all your workers in terms of their ‘fit’ at their workstation, and their
access into, out of and around the building. They can assess and help
you to adapt your workplace for compliance with the Disability
Keywords: anatomy; anthropometry; anthropometry and workplace design;
biomechanics; design for the physically disabled; postural and
biomechanical loading; slips, trips and falls; back pain; disabled
Area of work: Physiological aspects and medical ergonomics
Is your work labour-intensive and are you physically up to the job?
Ergonomists can assess the organisational, physical and psychological
requirements of work and suggest alternative approaches that will reduce
risks of injury and fatigue whilst improving system efficiency. This
approach can be applied to medicine and health settings where both the
needs of patients and carers can be optimised.
Keywords: physiology; physical capabilities; medical ergonomics; medical
equipment; psychophysiology; behavioural expectations; standards of
Area of work: Cognitive ergonomics and complex tasks
Does your team work well together? Are your procedures efficient and do
they take account of your workers’ mental abilities? Ergonomists can
investigate the cognitive requirements of work and assess whether they
match the abilities of the workers involved.
Keywords: cognitive skills and decision making; forensic human factors; team work and groups; procedure development.
Area of work: Task analysis
Jobs are made up of individual tasks that should combine to allow your
workers to make an obvious and valuable contribution to your company’s
business. Ergonomists can analyse tasks for their efficiency and suggest
improvements in workplace layout and equipment, and worker selection
Keywords: task analysis and job design; task analysis and synthesis; team work and groups.
Area of work: Systems analysis
Do your business systems integrate smoothly? Are you using your
resources efficiently – including premises, equipment and personnel?
Ergonomists can assess your business and communication systems and help
you to make practical and acceptable changes.
Keywords: systems analysis and design; systems integration; systems
requirements capture; telecommunications systems and products;
human-machine systems; Manprint; manning studies; 3-D man-modelling;
experimental design; system design standards and specifications;
Area of work: Management and ergonomics
Introducing change can be difficult. Ergonomists can advise on change
acceptance and management. Are you trying to introduce an ergonomics
policy? Ergonomists can help you to formulate an effective policy, with
the involvement of staff and managers.
Keywords: change management; cost-benefit analysis; emergency responses;
implementation of ergonomics strategies; operator performance; operator
workload analyses; standardisation and standards; human resource
management; work programmes; ergonomics policy and practice.
Area of work: Sociotechnical systems and ergonomics
Staff are the most important asset in any organisation. Ensure that
organisational changes are made effectively and with the support and
participation of your staff by getting an ergonomist to assist in the
Keywords: organisational behaviour, organisational change,
organisational psychology, participative ergonomics, ergonomics
strategies, sociotechnical systems, violations assessment, motivation.
Area of work: Vehicle and transport ergonomics
Ergonomists can assist vehicle designers and transport operators by
helping to design driver and passenger compartments, vehicle displays
and control systems, seating, and safety and emergency procedures.
Keywords: aviation; helicopter ergonomics; helmet displays; passenger
environments; rail vehicles and systems; transport design; vehicle
design; vehicle ergonomics; vehicle safety.
Area of work: Environmental ergonomics
Are your staff affected by lighting, heating, ventilation or noise
problems in your workplace? Ergonomists can assess the effect of these
and suggest changes in design or protective equipment that will improve
Keywords: environmental conditions and factors; noise surveys; hearing
loss at work; thermal environments; visibility and lighting; working
environment ergonomics; vibration.
Area of competence: Specific ergonomics applications
Ergonomics consultancies may have a particular area of expertise such as
nuclear power, military ergonomics, military systems, process
containment, process control, etc. Read the description listed with each
consultancy under this heading to learn more about their specific areas
Keywords: nuclear power; military ergonomics; military systems; process
containment and process control; literature surveys; survey and research
methods; automatic speech recognition.