The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) recently announced the formation of a new ergonomics branch, co-sponsored by the ASSE Industrial Hygiene and Engineering Practice Specialties, to enhance the professional development of ASSE members and to address the rising number of injuries due to improper ergonomic behavior.

“The goal of the new branch is to create a knowledge exchange platform to capture the membership’s body of knowledge and to develop a delivery system by which members will have easy access to this knowledge," said Jim Smith, vice president of the Council on Practices and Standards. "This knowledge network will ultimately assist members in better performing their jobs and in protecting people, property and the environment.”

Ergonomic-related injuries include soft tissue sprains associated with repetitive motions of workers’ fingers, hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, legs or from body positions and movements that entail subtle strain. Ergonomics refers to the science dedicated to designing workstations, tasks, tools, machine and equipment controls, lighting, temperature and work methods to fit workers’ capabilities and limitations. The science of ergonomics utilizes anthropometry, physiology, engineering and their interrelationships.

Due to the number of ASSE practice specialty members who already work in ergonomics, the Industrial Hygiene and Engineering Practice Specialties felt that a dedicated ergonomics branch would be a great benefit to them.