OH&S 7031 - Occupational Hygiene and Ergonomics

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2014

This course is an introduction to practical occupational hygiene and ergonomics. There is broad coverage of chemical and physical hazards and of technologies for evaluation and control. Topics include noise, vibration, thermal stress, shift work, biohazards and toxic chemicals. There will be discussion of exposure standards and the interpretation of hygiene data. There will also be an overview of ergonomics, including consideration of workstation and process design; displays and information systems; biomechanics; anthropometry; and psychological aspects.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code OH&S 7031
    Course Occupational Hygiene and Ergonomics
    Coordinating Unit Public Health
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Internal & external mode
    Restrictions Available to Grad Cert, Grad Dip, MPH students only
    Course Description This course is an introduction to practical occupational hygiene and ergonomics. There is broad coverage of chemical and physical hazards and of technologies for evaluation and control. Topics include noise, vibration, thermal stress, shift work, biohazards and toxic chemicals. There will be discussion of exposure standards and the interpretation of hygiene data. There will also be an overview of ergonomics, including consideration of workstation and process design; displays and information systems; biomechanics; anthropometry; and psychological aspects.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Dino Pisaniello

    Course Coordinator: Dino Pisaniello
    Phone: +61 8 8313 3571
    Email: dino.pisaniello@adelaide.edu.au
    Location: Level 8, Hughes Building, North Terrace

    Course Coordinator: Paul Rothmore
    Phone: +61 8 8313 3568
    Email: paul.rothmore@adelaide.edu.au
    Location: Level 7, 178 North Terrace

    Learning & Teaching Team
    Phone: +61 8 8313 2128
    Email: postgrad_enq@adelaide.edu.au
    Location: Level 7, 178 North Terrace
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Explain the basic conceptual frameworks for occupational hygiene and ergonomics
    2 Demonstrate an understanding of the scientific basis of occupational hazard exposure criteria
    3 Discuss the scientific basis of common techniques used for the evaluation and/or control of various occupational health exposures
    4 Prepare a critical review of existing or proposed occupational hygiene and ergonomics interventions
    5 Apply and explain the application of the hierarchy of hazard controls for occupational hygiene and ergonomics issues
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-5
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 3-5
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 3-5
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 1-5
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1-5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Introduction to Ergonomics (3rd Edition) by R. S. Bridger. CRC Press, 2009. Obtainable from Unibooks. Cost approx. $108.
    Note: There is 1 copy of this book on short-term reserve in the University Library.

    In addition a set of readings will be provided on MyUni with material relevant for each topic. Please ensure you have appropriate access prior to commencement of the course.

    A set of readings will be provided on MyUni with material relevant for each topic.
    Recommended Resources
    For those wishing to develop a professional library, suitable reference books include:

    • “Principles of Occupational Health & Hygiene – 2nd Edition” Editors: S. Reed, D. Pisaniello, G. Benke and K. Burton (available from the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists Office; details are at the following URL: www.aioh.org.au). ISBN: 9781743311295 Allen and Unwin. 2013 Australian Price (inc. GST): $85 Also available from UniBooks and the Allen and Unwin website.

    • Patty’s Industrial Hygiene, Sixth Edition, 2011 Edited by Vernon E. Rose and Barbara Cohrssen, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Available electronically through the Barr Smith Library

    • Modern Industrial Hygiene. Volume I. Recognition and Evaluation of Chemical Agents. Perkins J.L. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1997. 840 pp ISBN: 0442021054

    • Modern Industrial Hygiene, Vol. 2: Biological Aspects. Perkins J.L. (Ed.) Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York, 2003. 771 pp, ISBN: 1882417488

    • Recognition of Health Hazards in Industry, W.A. Burgess, N.Y., Wiley Interscience, 1995

    In addition to your prescribed textbook there are a large number of excellent reference books available which would be suitable for a professional library. Some of these, however, are prohibitively expensive:

    • International Encyclopaedic of Ergonomics and Human Factors (3 volume set). Edited by Waldemar Karwoski

    • The Occupational Ergonomics Handbook (2 volume set). Edited by William Marras and Waldemar Karwowski

    • Fitting the Task to the Human, 5th Edition, Kroemer K. & Grandjean E., Taylor and Francis, London, 1997.

    • Bodyspace - Anthropometry, Ergonomics & the Design of Work, 3rd Edition, Pheasant S & Haslegrave C, Taylor & Francis, London 2005.

    • Evaluation of Human Work (3rd Edition). Wilson J. and Corlett E., Taylor and Francis, London, 2005.


    You will need to access public sites such as SafeWork Australia (formerly the Australian Safety and Compensation Council); the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and WorkCover (SA). The web addresses are:

    You can find a comprehensive guide to Library Services, including various databases (including SCOPUS and PubMed), prepared by a Reference Librarian at:
    PubMed comprises more than 22 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. It is freely available at:

    Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature and web source. It is available on the University of Adelaide website at the following link:

    The CISDOC database is a collection of bibliographic information on occupational safety and health matters. It is does not contain the full text but has sufficient information in order to locate these documents, as well as an abstract of each of them.
    CISDOC can be accessed at the following URL:

    NIOSH Tic-2
    NIOSHTIC-2 is a bibliographic database of all research reports supported in whole or in part by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
    NIOSHTIC2 can be accessed at the following URL:

    The English version of the ILO Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety is available to the world for free on the ILO Web site at:
    The Encyclopaedia is a unique and widely respected reference. The InFocus Programme on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment (SafeWork) has now made the Encyclopaedia the centrepiece of its "SafeWork Bookshelf", which presently also includes the ILO/WHO/UNEP International Chemical Safety Cards.

    There are many sites offering free access to electronic ergonomic tools. Here are 2 particularly useful sites:
    Online Learning
    This is an online course. All course-related material is available through MyUni where you will also find Announcements related to this course and Discussion Boards where you will submit assignments and conduct discussions with your fellow students. Copies of presentations will be uploaded during the semester. MyUni is accessed by entering the The University of Adelaide website and then selecting the MyUni tab (bottom right-hand corner) or by following this link - https://myuni.adelaide.edu.au/webapps/login/. You will then be prompted to enter to username and password.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    As an online course much of the contact you have with fellow students and staff will be via MyUni You will be assigned to an online discussion group to which you will submit your answers to tutorial questions. Following submission of your assignment there is a period where you will have the opportunity to read, and provide constructive comment, on the work of your fellow Discussion Group members. Participants in this course have a wide range of backgrounds and this is your opportunity to gain an insight into different problem-solving perspectives (and remember your contribution is assessable).

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This means that, for this course, you are expected to commit approximately 12 hours per week to private study.

    Lectures for locally-based students are offered by industry experts during the Semester. Students are encouraged to attend where possible. Attendance should be considered as part of the suggested 12 hour study commitment per week.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Topic Lecture
    Week 1 Introduction to Ergonomics Ergonomics as a Discipline
    Ergonomics Models
    Week 2 Anthropometry and Design Principles Anthropometry and Statistical Methods
    Using Anthropometric Data
    User Centred Design
    Week 3 Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders I Hazardous Manual Tasks
    Anatomy & Biomechanics of the Low Back
    Age-related Changes
    The REBA Tool
    Week 4 Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders II The Upper Limb
    Risk Factors
    Work-related Disorders
    The RULA Tool
    Week 5 Cognitive Ergonomics and Job Design Hazardous Manual Tasks Code of Practice
    Psychosocial Risk Factors
    Week 6 The Older Worker Safety Culture
    The Older Worker
    Week 7 Introduction Introduction to Occupational Hygiene
    Heat Stress
    Week 8 Physical Hazards I Radiation (Ionizing)
    Week 9 Physical Hazards II Noise and Evaluation Control
    Week 10 Physical Hazards III Vibration (hand-arm and whole body)
    Week 11 Chemical Hazard Evaluation Introduction to Chemical Hazards
    Chemical Exposure Evaluation
    Biological Monitoring for Exposure to Chemicals
    Week 12 Chemical Hazard Control Industrial Ventilation
    Personal Respiratory Protection Chemical Protective Clothing
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed
    Ergonomics Exercises
    · The Ergonomics Model
    · Ergonomics Tools


    Major Ergonomics Assignment Summative 35% 3
    Heat Stress
    · Exercise
    · Tutorial
    1, 2, 5
    Noise and Radiation
    · Exercise
    · Tutorial
    Chemical Exposure Assessment & Control
    · Exercise
    · Tutorial

    Assessment Related Requirements
    This is your opportunity to demonstrate your ability to undertake a literature review, to make a critical appraisal of an issue, and to use your writing skills.

    You are expected to show evidence of having made a scientific examination of the issue yourself - i.e. it should be more than one would expect, for example, from a competent journalist.  You should show evidence of having undertaken a critical review of the scientific literature on the subject, including a computerised literature search.  If you are reviewing a chemical, reliance on the information in a MSDS is insufficient. 

    In your use of journals you should bear in mind the importance of obtaining scientific information from the original source; try to avoid quoting an author who is quoting another author.  

    You should also learn to distinguish between journals which are refereed and those which are not.  Scientific and professional journals use a process of peer review, in which papers are read critically by experts in the relevant field (referees), and by journal editors, and then rejected, or revised extensively, on the basis of detailed written critiques by these experts. For example, source material from the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health is likely to be more persuasive than a piece from Safety News.

    Where you use sources other than these refereed journals, were these reliable sources like chapters in reputable books, and did you provide the proper details so that the reader could easily find the sources you used?  Providing the reader with the means by which your scientific and intellectual tracks may be retraced is very important. The reader should be able to find your sources for himself or herself, and should also be able to exercise helpful judgement about the quality of your sources of facts and ideas.

    Referencing is important in enabling you to demonstrate the level of your own scholarship in coming to grips with the problem.  Each source that you cite will need to be identified in the references, properly using the Vancouver or the Harvard reference format that you see in biomedical and public-health journals (for example Occupational Health: Australia and New Zealand). Learn to use one or the other in the precise standard manner. The University of Adelaide website has examples of appropriate referencing at the following link: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/library/guide/gen/essay/reference.html

    Six to twelve references would be about the right number for your major written assignment, but the number of references you need will vary, depending on how you choose to approach the topic.

    NB A set of references is not the same as a bibliography.  References relate to publications specifically cited in your report, whereas a bibliography refers to what you may have read as a background to understanding the topic, without necessarily being cited in your report.  A list of references is mandatory, a bibliography is optional. Marks will be deducted for inappropriate referencing.

    In critically reviewing an issue, remember that science is not necessarily “common sense”.  Scientific thinking requires supporting evidence from observation – reason is not enough.

    Use appropriate headings and sub-headings throughout your assignment and remember to provide captions/titles for all pictures and diagrams used (and refer to these in the text).

    The requirements are similar to those for the major assignment, except for the length.  Because these are to be short, it is an opportunity to learn how to condense the important features of any subject into a short report.  Most people who will want your opinion as a consultant will be looking for quality rather than quantity: the longer your reports, the less chance they will be read at all, let alone read in full.

    As with the major assignments, you should read as much as necessary to ensure that you have a good general grasp of the topic, but a wide-ranging literature review is not essential.  Citation of two or three good references should suffice.
    Assessment Detail
    The ergonomic exercises are worth 15% of the total mark for the course (7.5% each). Students will be expected to work through the issues raised in these questions via on line interaction in a Discussion Board.

    Exercise 1

    Due Date: See the MyUni Course site
    Using an activity in your own workplace (or one you are familiar with) as an example, describe how you might conduct an assessment using either of the two Ergonomics Models provided as a framework. This should be no more than 1-page.
    If possible you should use the activity you might use for your Major Assignment.

    Exercise 2
    Due Date: See the MyUni Course site
    Complete either a REBA or RULA analysis on the relevant tasks pictured at the end of the Module 2 Study Guide. Submit the results sheet and provide some dot point comments (no more than half-a-page) on its potential usefulness for developing control options.

    Due Date: See the MyUni Course site
    The Major Ergonomics Assignment is valued at 35% of the total marks for the course.
    The written assignment should include an analysis of an issue relating to an occupational task /setting of your choice. The paper should clearly indicate the application of ergonomics theory, analysis and practice to the issue. The paper must provide a concise description of the issue and its effect on the people involved (based on your own direct observations), including a review of contemporary literature. The methodology you adopt for analysis of the issue should be included, as well as a discussion on the key points. It is essential that you include recommendations for improvement of the situation in your assignment.

    Your assignment should not exceed 2000 words (tables, appendices and photographs are encouraged and are considered additional)

    Penalties will apply for late submissions. Any extension must be negotiated with the lecturer prior to the due date.

    Structure of Paper:
    The paper should be presented in academic report format. It should be structured to include a brief introduction of the topic to set the scene and indicate why this topic has ergonomics relevance.

    The background should define the scope of your review and an overview of appropriate literature. It is essential that you focus on some key aspects of the job / task (based on your own direct observations) so that you are able to conduct an assessment of some depth, rather than a superficial statement of issues.

    You should briefly describe or define the methodology you have used to assess the system and present your findings.

    The most significant part of the paper should address a discussion of findings and key issues in an ergonomics systems context; leading to recommendations or identification of areas of further research / analysis where relevant.

    Give your assignment a title – e.g. An Analysis of Nursing Tasks in an ICU.

    Use sub-headings to guide the reader – e.g. Introduction/Background, Methods, Discussion, Conclusion, Recommendations.

    Remember to label all tables, photographs and refer to these in the text

    The paper should acknowledge contributors and permission should be obtained from workplaces to utilise information for academic purposes.

    Referencing: The use of a standard reference system is essential. For this assignment the Harvard system must be used.
    The Harvard system cites the first author and year of publication in the text, and assembles the references in alphabetical order at the end of the article.
    Detailed information is available on the University of Adelaide website:

    Possible topics: The following topics are provided as suggestions only. You can select any of these or a topic / work application of your choice. It must have an ergonomics focus and lend itself to analysis of the human - work system. If in any doubt about the topic or focus, please discuss the issues with the ergonomics lecturer in person or online.
    1. Nurses in a hospital intensive care unit
    2. Mining
    3. Food manufacture / processing
    4. Building / construction
    5. Library workers
    6. Customer call centre
    7. Clothing / textile / footwear manufacture
    8. Laboratory workers
    9. Surgery
    10. Child Care workers
    11. Agriculture / horticulture
    Ergonomic exercises 1 and 2 are to be submitted to your allocated on-line tutorial group (in Word format) via MyUni. When uploading these remember to include your surname in the filename, e.g. Smith Ergo Ex 1.doc.


    Unless otherwise advised, please submit your assignment as a single file via Turnitin (see the Assignments section on MyUni)). Turnitin will allow you to submit drafts of your Major Assignment for electronic checking of plagiarism up until the final submission date.

    The major assignment must include the following statement:

    All assignments, with the exception of Module 4 (major assignment) are submitted to your allocated on-line tutorial group via MyUni. Module 4 is to be submitted electronically using Turnitin (see the Assignments section on MyUni)). Turnitin will allow you to submit drafts of your Major Assignment for electronic checking of plagiarism up until the final submission date. The major assignment must include the following statement:


    I declare that all material in this assessment is my own work except where there is clear acknowledgement or reference to the work of others. I have read the University Statement and Definition of Plagiarism and Related Form of Cheating at http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/230. I give permission for my assessment work to be reproduced and submitted to other academic staff for the purposes of assessment and to be copied, submitted to and retained by the University’s plagiarism detection software provider for the purposes of electronic checking of plagiarism.
    Name: .................................................................................Date: ..........................................................

    The answers to the hygiene exercises are to be e-mailed directly to Assoc. Prof. Dino Pisaniello – dino.pisaniello@adelaide.edu.au


    Answers to tutorial questions, and your comments, are to be posted on the MyUni website in the relevant Discussion Board.

    must be requested, at the latest, by the last working day before the due date of submission. They will generally be granted only on medical and genuine compassionate grounds. Only the course coordinator, or a person authorised by them, may grant extensions.

    Marks will be deducted when assignments for which no extension has been granted are submitted late.
    Marks will be deducted from the mark (awarded on merit) at the rate of 5% per day.

    Return of Assignments: It is anticipated that student’s assignments, with comments will be returned, to University of Adelaide student e-mail address, within 2-weeks of submission deadlines.

    Where a student is provided with the opportunity to resubmit an assignment this may receive a maximum mark of 50% (depending on the circumstances of the required resubmission).

    Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty that amounts to theft or fraud. It is the unacknowledged use of the thoughts or writings of another person, as if they are one's own. This may occur as a result of deliberate misuse of another person's work, or through ignorance or inexperience about the correct way to acknowledge other work. Plagiarism includes presenting information or paraphrasing ideas from books, articles, etc. or other students' work, without clear identification of the source through proper use of referencing; and quoting directly from a source, without indicating that it is a direct quote.

    This is considered an extremely serious matter, which may lead to failure of an assignment, or even suspension from University.

    The University of Adelaide has a policy on plagiarism that can be viewed at http://www.adelaide.edu.au/clpd/plagiarism/students/

    There is a Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism, prepared by the Centre for Learning and Professional Development at the following link:

    #You should be aware that any of your submitted assessment work may be submitted for electronic checking of plagiarism.#

    Turnitin (http://www.turnitin.com) is an online plagiarism prevention service. You must submit your major assignment via Turnitin (see the Assignments section on MyUni). You can submit drafts of your major assignment for self-checking prior to final submission (and you are strongly encouraged to do so). Note however, that your minor assignments may also be submitted for checking at the sole discretion of the Course Coordinator.

    Guidance on length of assignments: Although we encourage students to submit assignments that demonstrate their understanding of the topic, the length of assignments should be within 20% of the expected word length. Being succinct is an important skill.
    A penalty of 10% of the mark (awarded on merit) may apply in the case of an obvious breach of this guidance.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    The following rubric will be used when marking the major assignment.

    High Distinction Distinction Credit Pass Fail
    General description Outstanding or exceptional work in terms of understanding, interpretation and presentation A very high standard of work which demonstrates originality and insight Demonstrates a high level of understanding and presentation and a degree of originality and insight Satisfies the minimum requirements Fails to satisfy the minimum requirements
    Reading Strong evidence of independent reading beyond core texts and materials Evidence of reading beyond core texts and materials Thorough understanding of core texts and materials Evidence of having read core texts and materials Very little evidence of having read any of the core texts and materials
    Knowledge of topic Demonstrates insight, awareness and understanding of deeper and more subtle aspects of the topic. Ability to consider topic in the broader context of the discipline Evidence of an awareness and understanding of deeper and more subtle aspects of the topic Sound knowledge of principles and concepts Knowledge of principles and concepts at least adequate to communicate intelligently in the topic and to serve as a basis for further study Scant knowledge of principles and concepts
    Articulation of argument Demonstrates imagination or flair. Demonstrates originality and independent thought Evidence of imagination or flair. Evidence of originality and independent thought Well-reasoned argument based on broad evidence Sound argument based on evidence Very little evidence of ability to construct coherent argument
    Analytical and evaluative skills Highly developed analytical and evaluative skills Clear evidence of analytical and evaluative skills Evidence of analytical and evaluative skills Some evidence of analytical and evaluative skills Very little evidence of analytical and evaluative skills
    Problem solving Ability to solve very challenging problems Ability to solve non-routine problems Ability to use and apply fundamental concepts and skills Adequate problem-solving skills Very little evidence of problem-solving skills
    Expression and presentation appropriate to the discipline Highly developed skills in expression and presentation. Well developed skills in expression and presentation. Good skills in expression and presentation. Accurate and consistent acknowledgement of sources. Adequate skills in expression and presentation. Rudimentary skills in expression and presentation. Inaccurate and inconsistent acknowledgement of sources.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.