Ergonomics and Human Factors for Sustainability


The Technical Committee “Ergonomics and Human Factors for Sustainability” (formerly Human Factors for Sustainable Development, HFSD) is intended to build a powerful global network of experts in the fields of ergonomics/human factors and sustainability. Its foundation was endorsed by the IEA Executive Committee in July 2008. Since then, the group has gained about 70 members worldwide.


What we are doing / our activities

At the following website address you can access an article published in 2022, describing the work of this technical committee and its perspective related to past, present, and future actions in ergonomics and human factors for sustainability.

Thatcher, Andrew et al. ‘Past, Present, and Future of E/HF for Sustainability: A Perspective from the HFSD Technical Committee’. Work, vol. 73, no. s1, pp. S153-S167, 2022. DOI: 10.3233/WOR-211121


Bolis Ivan, Co-Chair
Federal University of Paraiba, Brazil
Gabriel Garcia-Acosta, Co-Chair
Karen Lange Morales, Co-chair
Tiago Sigahi, Co-chair
University of São Paulo, Brazil

Contact Tiago Sigahi for more information or to join this Technical Committee
General information:

General Schedule 2022-2024



Sustainable development was generally defined as meeting human needs of current as well as future generations. In particular, this anthropocentric perspective leads to joint objectives between ergonomics/human factors and sustainable development. Although the explicit reference to the concept of sustainable development is relatively new for ergonomics/human factors, the underlying ideas and approaches are not, particularly the systems approach.

The sustainability of human resources is based on enduring workability and employability, which have been dominant elements in ergonomics/human factors ever since. Social sustainability is realized in concepts such as preventive occupational health and safety, human-centered design of work, empowerment, individual and collective learning, employee participation, or work-life-balance.

But ergonomic interventions are not limited to aspects of social sustainability: a more efficient design of work processes, participatory capacity building concepts, or the use of macroergonomic change management instruments, allow us to initiate and diffuse those technical, organizational, and social innovations that are necessary for greater sustainable development in regard to environmental, social and economic aspects.


  • To improve and increase the knowledge about the contribution of ergonomics to corporate, environmental, and societal sustainability concepts
  • To improve knowledge transfer from human factors/ergonomics to the academic community dealing with sustainable development
  • To strengthen the relationship between human factors specialists/ergonomists and other actors in this field
  • To promote ergonomics as a stakeholder-oriented approach
  • To promote the role of ergonomics in realizing sustainable development to the public at large


The TC currently works with a structure of four Sub-Committees that are focusing on specific subjects of “Human Factors and Sustainable Development”. We have about 70 members worldwide ( who are engaged in one or more of the following Sub-Committees:


Sub-Committee 1: “Theoretical Perspectives on Human Factors and Sustainable Development”

Chair: Claudio Brunoro, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil;


Sub-Committee 2: “Human Factors and Sustainable Development in Global Value Creation”

Chair: Klaus Fischer, University of Kaiserslautern, Germany


Sub-Committee 3: “Ergonomics and Design for Sustainability”

            Giuseppe Di Bucchianico, University of Chieti-Pescara “G. d’Annunzio” – IDEA Department, Italy

Emilio Rossi, Lincoln School of Design, UK


            Jorge Sierra


Sub-Committee 4: “Energy and Mobility”


David Rempel, University of California San Francisco, USA


Dan Gottesman



Rich Mcilroy

United Kingdom


Sub-Committee 5: “Sustainability in the Built Environment”

          Erminia Attaianese, University of Naples Federico II, Italy



Sub-Committee 6: “Smart/Intelligent Systems”

           Paul Yeow, School of Business & Management, RMIT University, Vietnam


           Myriam Frejus, EDF Research & Development, France




Sub-Committee 1: “Theoretical Perspectives on Human Factors and Sustainable Development”

About the Sub-Committee

The “Theoretical Perspectives on Human Factors and Sustainable Development” sub-committee’s remit is to determine the underlying theoretical basis for Human Factors and Sustainable Development (HFSD). This means examining the interplay between the human factors and ergonomics discipline and related disciplines such as ecological science, development studies, economic science, engineering sciences, and public health. HFSD is still a relatively new sub-discipline in human factors and ergonomics, so there are multiple opportunities to shape and direct this area. The work of this sub-committee is to provide direction to the IEA’s Technical Committee on the appropriate theoretical paradigms to adopt. Theoretical and definitional problems have plagued the early work of HFSD. This committee aims to critically examine the prominent definitions and models of sustainable development in order to provide guidance for the theoretical and practical implementation of HFSD.

SC Background

The term “sustainable development” emerged from the World Commission for Economic Development’s 1987 document which defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. The predominant movements that emerged from the original definition have been characterised as either social justice initiatives or environmental concern initiatives. Despite these differences, there is a growing understanding that the World is faced with a complex set of interrelated problems that require the attention of multidisciplinary teams. Hecht et al. (2012; p. 64) summarise these complex problems as: “we must vastly improve infrastructure for water systems, sanitation, and urban development; lessen hunger, assuage poverty, and promote human dignity; curb greenhouse-gas emissions; avoid persistent, bio-accumulative, and toxic chemicals; and protect biodiversity”. The HFSD agenda is set to contribute to these discussions and provide advice as to where human factors and sustainable development might provide input. It must be noted that the theoretical and methodological background for HFSD is currently emergent. Theoretical notions that are being explored include the Triple Bottom Line approach, The Natural Step approach, the sustainable work systems approach, the ergoecological approach, and the two-tiered sustainability equilibria model.

SC Objectives

Provide guidance on the appropriate theoretical paradigms for HFSD
Exploring the overlaps between HFSD, green ergonomics, ergoecology, and Ergonomics Without Borders
Determining where HFSD can contribute to improving societal, individual, and environmental wellbeing

Sub-Committee 2: “Sustainability and Risk Management”

SC Background

Hazards arise in starting-up, loading and maintaining certain equipment in sectors such as metal and electrical products, transport equipment, mining, forestry, textiles, furniture, pulp and paper. Advanced technologies (expressly nanotechnologies), global markets and deregulation all have served to foster profound change in organizations: Systems of production have become more and more integrated and dynamic. The Council of Science and Technology in Canada (2006) called for products meeting specific requirements of users, offering high value added from a technical and knowledge-based perspective that are turned out in significant quantities. The professional practice of human factors has therefore grown more complex and requires a systematic management of risks.

SC Objectives

Collaborative research and expertise, highly qualified people training and knowledge translation for occupational safety in respect of sustainable development principles:

• Develop tools that will help to protect workers from death, accidental injury and occupational diseases and to design safer production systems and equipment.
• Develop new design tools integrating occupational safety and ergonomics to operational risks;
• Develop new protective devices based on the technologies of vision, control and command used for satellites;
• Pursue the technical improvements of various personal protective equipment (mainly anti-fall systems and auditory protection) and developing multi-criteria approaches for their evaluation and selection;
• Study the effects on health as well as means to control nano-aerosols and nanoparticles. Specifically, study the aerodynamic behaviour of nanoparticles (NPs) and develop a model for the management of risks taking into account the strategic behaviours of stakeholders.
• Study of thermo-ventilation movements within buildings/mines aimed at improving air quality, thermal comfort, bio-safety and develop optimal ventilation strategies.


Sub-Committee 3: “Human Factors and Sustainable Development in Global Value Creation”

About the Sub-Committee

The SC emphasizes the relevance of ergonomics to improve working and living conditions in a systemic manner; researching on the possibilities of HF/E to improve the effectiveness of or even to overcome “codes of conduct” and compliance schemes; focusing on the contribution of HF/E to realize more social, environmental and economic sustainability in global value creation. The sub-committee also focus the Ergonomics´ contribution to improve corporate sustainability regarding work (sustainability of work) and the impacts on workers activities caused by the implementation of environmental sustainability policies (work for sustainability). The sub-committee includes some goals / issues:

• To provide subsidies to improvements in working conditions and planning of work processes in the organizations;
• To provide academic contributions to the implementation of work practices consistent with the organizational alignment and corporate social responsibility / corporate sustainability.

SC Background

The actual research analyzes the relationship between sustainability and work. The focus is to study the implications and impacts to workers who perform their activities in organizations engaged in corporate sustainability. To achieve this goal, we intend to go through the following approaches. On the first approach analyze the work that is necessary to guarantee the company´s sustainability. For instance, when a company changes some process to a process considered more sustainable, there are new things that the workers need to do. Is there any impact for the workers due to the sustainable process, environmentally speaking? What does the worker have to do to make this process possible? On the other hand, on the second approach, what should be a work under the worker perspective in a sustainability perspective?

SC Objectives• To motivate new researchers related to the area to join the sub-committee.
• To improve an exchange of academic papers and research results among the associates (ex.: TC platform, mailing list or groups).
• To put together associates in congresses and conferences with the creation of special sessions (ex.: formal and informal meetings, round tables).
• To provide emerging countries context related to Sustainability and ergonomics.

HFSD TC Newsletter – 2022



In 2009, the TC introduced itself to a broad professional audience for the first time at the IEA World Congress on Ergonomics in Beijing in August 2009. For this conference, the TC organized three conference sessions and informed about its activities with flyers and a poster.

The TC furthermore had its official kick-off during the conference and gained about 30 new members there. After the event, the current TC structure with four Sub-Committees was established with Klaus Zink as the first TC chair.


The TC organized a track on Human Factors and Sustainable Development during the yearly spring conference (March 24-26, 2010) of the Gesellschaft fur Arbeitswissenschaft (the German Human Factors and Ergonomics Society). The track was divided in two groups, focusing on “Sociotechnical Systems Design for Sustainability” and “Human Factors/Ergonomics in Globalized Value Creation” respectively.

The URL of the conference website is


We organised a special symposium on EQUID and sustainable development at the ODAM conference 2011 in Grahamstown, South Africa
Please find more information at


At the IEA 2012 Congress in Recife, Brazil we held three special sessions as well as our TC meeting. We also started planning the special issue for the journal ‘Ergonomics’ which was edited by Patrick Waterson and Roger Haslam.


We organised two symposium sessions at the ODAM-NES conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.


At the IEA 2015 Congress in Melbourne, Australia we organised two symposia sessions on “Human factors and sustainable development” and another symposium session on “Human factors and green buildings”. At the conference we also held our TC meeting where Andrew Thatcher took over as Chair of the TC from 2015. The TC also started contributed to two special editions, one in Applied Ergonomics and the other in IIE Transactions.


We published a special issue of Applied Ergonomics (volume 57) with 10 papers. We also started palling on a book entitled “Ergonomics and human factors for a sustainable future: current research and future possibilities” to be published by Palgrave-MacMillan. The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society’s theme for their annual prize was sustainability/resilience in 2015/16. HFSD TC member, Thomas Franke, won the award for a paper entitled “Which factors can protect against range stress in everyday usage of battery electric vehicles? Toward enhancing sustainability of electric mobility systems”. Organised an HFES2016 panel discussion entitled “This changes everything? Macroergonomics and sustainability”. The French Association for Research in Ergonomics Psychology and Ergonomics (ARPERGE) launched its sub-committee “Concevoir pour le Développement Durable” (or Design for Sustainable Development). This sub-committee is chaired by HFSD TC member Julien Guibourdenche.


We organised a symposium session at the ODAM-ACE conference in Banff, Canada. We have also had another book proposal accepted to be published by CRC Taylor & Francis entitled “Human factors for sustainability: theoretical perspectives and global perspectives”.

2017 Annual Report for Human Factors and Sustainable Development Download PDF

2023 Annual report



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