About Jeanne Guérin Certified Ergonomist CCPE
Around the age of 12, I saw a commercial plane pass over my head and I said to myself that one day I would be on this plane. I did not know that this vision would propel me into orbit!
Slowly over the years my choices instinctively pushed me towards my goals. At 16, I experienced a first flight in a Cessna, at 20 I went on a charter flight to France, my first commercial flight! Dream number 1 fulfilled!
I also began to dream of space and to contemplate an astronaut career. It was rather difficult at the time given the competition with Marc Garneau! So I had to rethink my strategy … A career in Industrial Design might allow me to work in the aerospace field? At 25 I was doing my one year baccalaureate project with Canadair / Bombardier (a first for the Design Department of U of M), to then be hired for designing the interior of the first commercial jet in Quebec.
My passion continued to push me higher, this time towards a master in Ergonomics for a context of microgravity. Yes, I was drawn to space and I was going to approach it one way or another! So I decided to do a master’s degree in ergonomics for the space sector. Naturally, the field of space ergonomics in Canada did not exist and there was no training in this field since Canada is specializing in robotic systems like the Canadian arm or the manufacture of satellites which did not require human interactions. In fact, apart from NASA in the United States, the human factors domain for space was really very limited.
I had to do a master’s degree with research credits, which was not so simple when Google didn’t exist! I was even advised to do a master’s degree in physiotherapy to find a good job! To which I replied that I already had a good job! Bombardier trusted my abilities by giving me the title of Human Factors specialist during the development of the cockpit of the Global Express business jet. What an opportunity! I finally finished my master’s thesis entitled “Ergonomics in the design processes applied to the context of microgravity in a space environment” at 34 years old. Dream number 2 fulfilled!
A year later, I found myself working at Boeing where I spent several years contributing to the design of the cockpit and the interior of the new 787 aircraft, accumulating invention patents, learning how to fly, again I had a lot of fun! On the other hand, without American citizenship, there was little chance of working at NASA. But time does it right. The space sector finally opened up to private industry which began to develop space tourism. As soon as I could, I applied to Blue Origin even though there was no post for Human Factors ergonomics. After a quite exhausting interviews, I got the job and worked to put humans into orbit. Ultimate dream fulfilled!
I cannot say that it was done quickly or easily but it is not only the goal that counts it is also the journey to get there!
WHY ERGONOMICS IS A FUNDAMENTAL HEALTH DISCIPLINE?
Today, I will explain why ergonomics is a fundamental health discipline.
First let’s talk about injuries caused by practices that are not conforming to the scientific principles of ergonomics. Musculoskeletal Disorders or MSDs and repetitive work-related joint injuries are injuries to soft tissues such as tendons, nerves and muscles. About 34% of all work accidents are musculoskeletal in nature, which is significant and costly.
One of the causes of MSD-type injuries is due to an inadequate design of the workstation. It could be that the dimensions are not adapted to the stature of the various people who use it or due to the lack or improper workstation adjustments, causing the user to maintain difficult postures, which in return create strain on the muscles, fatigue and inflammation. If we add repetitive movements over a long period of time, and even worse, the use of force to perform the task, we end up with a high risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders for the person assigned to the task.
That’s not all, if the environmental conditions of cold, heat, light, vibration and noise are part of the equation, it is possible that normal working conditions will be degraded to an unhealthy level.
Mental health as strange as it may sound can affect physical health. Indeed, stressful situations can amplify MSDs by causing inflammation and delaying recovery and return to work. Mental loads, stressful work situations, circadian cycles and overtime can lead to mistakes that can put at risk the health and safety of the workers.
The discipline of ergonomics is often overlooked because many times, the injuries are not felt at the onset of the faulty work task. The MSDs are often caused by an accumulation of minor symptoms over time. The injuries often appear after a period of time, making it difficult to associate the faulty process to the source of the pain. The importance of following good ergonomic practices is often ignored based on misconceptions and lack of knowledge. Ergonomists must take the time to educate people about the importance of following ergonomics standards. Dr Marras, a recognized spine expert explains back injuries that appear suddenly for unknown reasons, by the accumulation of micro scars on the discs which, by accumulation, prevent blood flow through the discs. Blood circulation is necessary to keep discs healthy. Lifting excessive loads or with improper postures cause these micro scars over time, leading to injuries that are often very difficult to heal. Following good ergonomic practices is essential to maintain good health in the long term.
Spinal disk’s health affected by blood flow restriction caused by an accumulation of micro scars over time.
Back Pain and Your Brain: William S. Marras at TEDxOhioStateUniversity
With more than a third of all work accidents being musculoskeletal in nature, it is clear that ergonomics must be considered a fundamental discipline for the health of users in the workplace and in life in general. In addition, an injury costs an average of $ 35,000 to the employer and the average compensation time is 62 days, which gives reason to reflect on the importance of ergonomics as being an essential driver for the health of business operations.
The costs associated with injuries are not just business-related. The injured employee will experience a decrease in income; not all care may be covered by insurance. Their lifestyle can be affected, for example, by the inability to return to their favorite or even basic activities. This burden weighs heavily on their self-confidence and can create anxiety leading to the inability to return to work.
Ergonomics affect the health and safety of all of us in many different ways. Let’s be aware of ergonomics best practices to keep us healthy for a long time.
Certified Ergonomist CCPE
July 2019 - Present
- Principal Consultant and Senior Ergonomist, Specialist in Human Factors and Certified Trainer – Emploi-Québec.
- Produces industrial ergonomics evaluations and reports according to the Prevention through Design PtD program ANSI / ASSE 590.3.
- Solves musculoskeletal disorders with ergonomic analyzes of workstations in manufacturing, institutional, office, and from home in virtual and face-to-face modes.
- Gives training at the university level, to associations and companies.
August 2011 - July 2019
- Digital Human Modeling Technical Practice Leader, performing virtual ergonomics analysis for various clients internationally, including Prevention through Design.
- Speaker: redaction of articles, presented in various webinars and at national conventions.
- EHS Ergonomics consultant for manufacturing aerospace plants. Conduct periodic ergonomics and safety risk assessments and reviews, plan and implement solutions for a healthy work environment, reduce risks of injuries and improve productivity. Work with management to facilitate risk management decisions.
- Organize and perform office ergonomic evaluations at for a large hospital.
- Industrial Hygiene. Data collection for sound and CO2.
- Job Demand Analysis, Physical Demand Analysis.
- Processes, questionnaire development to verify validity of ergonomics systems in place.
- Program development and training to engineers, employees and ergonomists.
- Trained the trainers
HUMAN FACTORS SPECIALIST,
October 2008 - April 2011
- Managed the human factors department, promoted and evangelized human factors, advocacy for the astronaut’s safety, needs, enjoyable experience and wellbeing.
- Project management, emphasis on teamwork and training to develop ergonomics system architecture for the crew capsule at Blue Origin focusing on safety, risk management and affordability.
- Analyzed emerging technologies for the identification of potential hazards and control methods such as crash testing in relation to finite element models in crew capsule seat design.
- Performed several human modeling systems evaluations and influenced software acquisition for the company.
- Performed multiple human modeling evaluation reducing significantly the level of errors, redesign costs efforts and injuries. Designed, advised and worked closely with engineers and technicians for maintainability, ground support equipment, tooling and launch stand.
- Redesigned the interior configuration of the crew capsule and resolved previous issues to improve safety, visibility and astronauts experience by setting precedents.
- Analysis and recommendations for control room displays ergonomics.
- Wrote proposals (RFP, RFQ), coordinated non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), tests and test reports, specifications, guides and worked closely with vendors.
HUMAN FACTORS SPECIALIST,
The Boeing Company
October 1996 - October 2008
- Managed project and a small team for the design and usability studies of a crew seat of the future and worked closely with universities.
- Resolved various Flight Deck issues and managed projects (Thermal comfort studies, tiller design) to improve flight deck usability to improve crew efficiency and comfort. Accomplished ergonomics verification and validation (V&V) testing in a motion simulator (knob accessibility and performance) and fixed base simulator as well as in full size mock-ups, conducted rapid prototyping usability evaluations, built surveys and questionnaires and collected data, collaborated with Boeing engineering team, pilots and suppliers to insure certification of the flight deck components.
- Recognized as a company expert with the Dassault Systemes/Safework Human modeling software (Super-user/focal) and trained co-workers. Beta tested the VOA (vehicle Occupant Accommodation) software to determine modifications required to use for flight deck pilot vision studies.
- Developed and implemented human factors processes, innovative checklists, and classification system for documentation to improve efficiency of the flight deck ergonomics department.
- Organized the facilities and acted as Committee member for the first and subsequent Boeing Human Modeling Symposium.
Hired as part of the initial Payloads Concept Center team who set-up an example within the Boeing Company on innovation and management of creativity.
- Managed various studies, conducted human factors analysis, designed components, performed usability testing, created questionnaires, surveys, and performed observation in the field and applied IDEO methodology that influenced the design of airplane interiors of the future including the 787 model.
- Invented processes and analysis methods such as Kansei engineering with the use of a projection dome.
- Conducted researches on user interface interaction, developed displays, researched user population such as flying with children and aging that were incorporated in published patents. Identified potential hazards and control methods.
- Technical focal for Human Factors on 767-400 projects.
- Reviewed tooling, maintenance activities and design to ensure the implementation of Human Factors requirements to reduce errors, injuries and reduce redesign cost and efforts.
- Performed Human Factors evaluations and guidance on different projects such as the overhead space utilization and collected data with questionnaires and surveys from Boeing flight test pilots, airline pilots and flight attendants from various airlines.
- Training of peers, mentoring of a Master Degree Program student.
HUMAN FACTORS SPECIALIST,
January 1988 - October 1996
- Cockpit Human Factors Focal/Integrator: System integration and design for the cockpit of the Global Express and CL 604 programs including responsibilities as: Preliminary design, layouts and concepts, Human Factors studies, design and interface with the various systems engineers for the cockpit controls, side display and panels, selection of vendors. Interface with pilots. In charge of Cockpit Committees including representatives from FAA, JAA and DOT. In charge of building a full-size mock-up of the cockpit.
- Writing of flight tests, certification and human factors reports, design guidelines.
- Responsibility of the design studies for new components, production drawings, aircraft configuration, floor plans, link with marketing and weights departments. Liaison with external industrial design consultants, vendors. Mock-up build and coordination. Coordination of interior finish specifications, technical reports.
- Coached several students of the Industrial Design department at University of Montreal
1992 – 1995
Master, University of Montreal
Master Applied Sciences (MAS) Ergonomics/Humans Factors – Microgravity
1983 – 1987
Bachelor, University of Montreal
BAC Industrial Design
Industrial Design Internship at Mackintosh School of Arts, Glasgow Scotland 1986
1998 – 2002
Private pilot license
Certificate number: 2596134
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