Application of the human - machine model to ergonomic work assessment

Joanna D. Sznajder, Patrick N. Breysse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this article is to present a pragmatic approach to conducting worksite ergonomic assessments, utilizing the concept of the human-machine model to address both safety and ergonomic problems. This approach is applicable to a wide range of work environments within many locations, and to work processes with dynamic or static components. The work environment is considered a physical location which includes the workplace design, process, equipment, tools, and materials used during the course of the job. The classic human-machine model identifies the following information pathway and interactions between the operator and the machine: Integration of information from the machine, taking action based on the decision made, presentation of the result of the action taken, and the machine operation accomplishment. The application of this model is presented for the following three examples: Ship docking maneuvers, crane and gantry operators’ work, and assembly line work. The utility of using the human-machine model as a framework for conducting ergonomic job site assessments is discussed. It is particularly useful when work performance is very complex and demands different skills. Although the model consists of two main components—a person and a machine —attention is focused on the operator since he/she integrates information from the machine, makes the decision, and takes an action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)626-632
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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