The National Ergonomics Conference Is On. And Yes, It’s Being Presented Virtually

Testing new approaches and new ideas to create effective methods and solutions; it's what ergonomists do, and it's what we're doing for the 2020 National Ergonomics Conference.
By: | July 8, 2020
Topics: ErgoExpo | Ergonomics

As the world prepares to return to work throughout the summer and into the fall, some workers are at a greater risk for injury due to inactivity during quarantine.

It has never been more important to emphasize proper ergonomics — perhaps especially in remote work spaces — but the uncertainty of our current work situation makes this challenging.

That’s why, despite the pandemic-related cancellation of the in-person 2020 National Ergonomics Conference & ErgoExpo® in Las Vegas, the Ergo conference chairs are still committed to delivering the education that the event promised. Registration for the virtual event is now open.

Along with a virtual general session and two keynotes on August 26, two pre-recorded digital conference sessions will be released per month, starting in September 2020, until the conference reconvenes in Las Vegas in November 2021.

The first of these pre-recorded sessions, from the conference’s “Success Stories” track, will feature two related talks.

The first is titled “A Participatory Approach to Ergonomics Leadership Engagement and Development” and is hosted by Honda of Canada. The second presentation in that initial flight is titled “Building and Sustaining a World Class Ergonomics Process” and will be given by Keith Osbourne of Seattle City Light.

The Future of Work

The general session on August 26 will feature a presentation on the future of work.  Given that so many more of the nation’s workforce will be working remotely, ergonomics stands to play a key role in keeping these remote workers safe.

Alan Hedge, professor of ergonomics, Cornell University

“Ergonomics plays a role in helping to design more effective technologies that can support telecommuting,” said 2020 National Ergonomics Conference & ErgoExpo® Chair Alan Hedge.

“For example, the recent availability of many video conferencing platforms allows for home office working in a way that would not have been possible even just a few years ago,” he said.

It’s information on these types of technologies that will be brought to attendees digitally on August 26 and beyond.

Along with already relevant topics, presenters will touch on items that are especially important now, such as creating home office spaces or behavioral ergonomics. 

“My session will demonstrate how sometimes office space design ‘nudges’ people in unintended ways,” said Keynote Speaker Dr. Mike O’Neill, whose presentation will also be published on the 26th.

“You will be able to immediately use these principles to create healthier and safer environments that will benefit everyone, especially important now that many employees are beginning their return to the office workplace.”

Growing the Conversation for 2021

In addition to the content presented during the virtual event and digital sessions, Hedge has designed a free app that can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store called “Home Office Ergonomics.”

David Brodie, corporate ergonomist, Cargill Protein, Inc.

The app includes a self check-up as well as advice on all other aspects of the home office workplace.

We are in a very exciting point in our field where technology is helping us jump forward in how we evaluate risk and the types of solutions we consider,” commented 2020 ErgoExpo® co-chair David Brodie. 

“As ergonomists, it is important for us to learn about these developments, test them, question them and help them grow into effective methods and solutions,” Brodie said.

“I am looking forward to many of the sessions we have this year that are working down this path.

Creating this virtual community for interacting will provide an excellent opportunity for sharing, discussion and growth into 2021,” said Brodie. &


Register for the 2020 National Ergonomics Conference here.

The National Ergonomics Conference and Expo® is an affiliate of Risk & Insurance®’s parent organization, The Institutes®.

Emily Spennato is a former staff writer with Risk & Insurance.

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