The Indian Society of Ergonomics (ISE) was established in 1983 and is the only professional body representing HFE professionals in India. Apart from being a Federated Society of the IEA, the ISE is also a member of the ACED (Asian Council on Ergonomics and Design), and the BRICSplus HFE Networks.
ISE has approximately 500 members who come from a wide variety of fields, including physiology, psychology, home science, industrial design, product design, occupational health, industrial safety, and engineering, reflecting the multi-disciplinary nature of HFE.
ISE fact sheet
● Established: 1983
● Approximate number of members: 500 members
● Website: https://ise.org.in/
There are several challenges and barriers hindering the widespread implementation of HFE in India including the following:
- As in many industrially developing countries, skilled labour is easily available and replaceable. It is thus seemingly easier to replace workers that are negatively affected by sub-optimal working conditions than to address HFE risks in the workplace.
- The market is inundated with products or work environments that are purported to be ergonomically designed but are not.
- Some “ergonomics” consultants fail to deliver workable interventions or are unable to conduct effective awareness sessions, thus resulting in both industrialists and management viewing ergonomics with uncertainty based on these experiences where the so-called ergonomics was done by incompetent persons.
- Knowledge of success stories that demonstrate return on investment (ROI) of HFE interventions facilitates the process of “selling” HFE to organisations. However, this useful information and knowledge is not part of the arsenal of most HFE professionals in India.
- HFE professionals are currently not certified in India. In response to this, ISE is developing a system of certification that meets the needs of Indian industry (stakeholders need large numbers of ergonomists with basic level certification and knowledge of local conditions, and training these requires experts with advanced certification). The IEA’s endorsement requirements and competency matrix, particularly in terms of core competencies and the entry level qualifications required for certification are used for consultation.
Overview of ISE activities
The Society publishes a quarterly newsletter. Current and back issues of the newsletter are available on the ISE website (https://ise.org.in/newsletter.shtml).
The ISE has started a series of conferences on the theme of “Humanizing Work and Work Environment” (HWWE), aimed at developing a common platform for exchange of ideas concerning improvement in work and the work environment aiming to improve health and safety of persons at work. These conferences (HWWE) are organized at different locations across the country. Initially, it was proposed to have a scientific meeting annually. Every second meeting would be a national conference, and every fourth one an international conference. Of late, the demand from different host institutions has been so strident that a national ergonomics conference with international participation has become an annual event. The HWWE has become an annual cross-sectional snapshot of Indian ergonomics. A strong presence of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) at most of these meetings, and the organization of pre- and post- conference workshops on ergonomics methods, check-points, etc. have helped to boost the popularity of these events. So far, seventeen such HWWE conferences have been organized.
ISE seeks to develop and maintain strong ties with industry as well as allied professional bodies to increase awareness and networking. These include joint webinars with the Confederation of Indian Industry, and membership of the National Standards Body (BIS), as an Industry Representative, taking an active part in the development of Indian ergonomics standards. ISE collaborates with other occupational health professionals, physicians and physiotherapists, such as with the Indian Association of Occupational Health, to host the International Commission of Occupational Health’s Triennial World Congress in Mumbai, India in 2027, and PREMUS 2023, the 11th International Scientific Conference on the Prevention of Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders, to be held in Bengaluru, India – September 20-26, 2023. This conference is endorsed by the IEA.
There are 48 Indian standards on ergonomics issued by the National Standards body (Bureau of Indian standards – BIS). ISE participates actively in the development of Indian ergonomics standards and also ISO standards through participation in various ISO TC-159 (Ergonomics) SCs (Sub-Committees) and WGs (Working Groups). While these standards are not mandatory, and ergonomics is not part of national legislation, rapid industrial and economic growth pose problems that have viable and demonstrable ergonomics solutions, and occupational health and safety (HSE) concerns are becoming major drivers of ergonomics programmes.
Upcoming ISE events
HWWE2023 will be held in Mumbai, India in December 2023 (14-16) as a joint international conference along with the Asian Conference on Ergonomics and Design (ACED) 2023 and the BRICSplus Human Factors & Ergonomics Conference (BRICSplus HFE2023) with the conference theme of ‘Human-Centered Digitalization’.
ISE membership is open to individuals in India and across the world. Details on ISE membership and the society’s contact details can be found here: https://ise.org.in/membership.shtml
Dr. Debkumar Chakrabarti
University of Petroleum & Energy Studies (UPES)
Dehradun- 248 007, Uttara Khand
Dr. C. K. Pradhan
Salboni, Block – Mohul
Flat No. A 1402,
64/98 C, Khudiram Bose Sarani
Kolkata – 700 037
Dr. P. C. Dhara
Dept. of Human Physiology
Midnapore – 721 102 WB
Dr. Rauf Iqbal
Vihar Lake Road
Mumbai – 400 087
Dr. Somnath Gangopadhyay
Dept. of Physiology
University College of Science, Technology & Agriculture
92, A.P.C. Road
Kolkata – 700 009