Applied Anthropology & Ergonomic Design


Claire C. Gordon - Visiting scholar, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University  


Abstract: The occupational health, safety and performance of people depend, among other things, on clothing, equipment, and workstations that fit their bodies well. Achieving a good fit in protective clothing systems and workstations is especially important for soldiers and first responders (e.g. firefighters, police) whose jobs are inherently hazardous.  Designing clothing and workstations that fit well is particularly challenging for the US Army, which routinely requires its materiel systems to accommodate 90% or more of the target population without alteration or special order. As a result, the Army has utilized physical anthropologists and statisticians to help design, size, and purchase its materiel systems since before the Second World War.

    In this talk we’ll review some contemporary applications and research challenges in Army ergonomics, including modeling current and future Army, National Guard, and Reserve body size distributions, statistical sizing of protective clothing & equipment, development of human digital models for workstation design, accommodation of minority groups in ergonomic design criteria, and the ways in which 3D scanning technologies are used for materiel design, sizing, and issuing.  Along the way, we’ll also consider the impact that doing research primarily for application to products affecting human occupational safety and health has on measurement systems, research designs, and statistical analyses.