Workspace Design


Workspace Design

Workspace Design

Bad workplace design is a strong problem that can be responsible for safety and health problems for the workers and loss of productivity for companies.

Within this research area, we study:

  1. We develop digital human models that integrate the anthropometric and biomechanical characteristics of the workers to be used for the development of design solutions.
  2. From a user-centered design perspective and from the knowledge of human capabilities and limitations from the anthropometric, biomechanical, and cognitive points of view, we develop and evaluate design proposals that promote workers' quality of life (safety and health) and system efficiency productive.


Some developed projects

Driver interface for the Plamel platform

This intervention focused on the design of an interface to control a railway vehicle. The following variables were optimized: definition of the chair's H-point; free space for the accommodation of operators; exit and entry of operators; interaction with the traction command; interaction with secondary commands; fields of view for vehicle dashboards and fields of vision to the outside of the vehicle. The optimization was performed for the 5th and 95th anthropometric percentiles.

SOLMAT project

The main objective of this project was the development of an industrial mat for work situations where people are standing for long periods of time. In the first phase of this project, a study of benchmarks and the evaluation of the usability of two models of industrial carpet, called anti-fatigue, using the Pedar System by Novel was carried out. Based on the results achieved in the usability study of 4 focus group meetings with teams of professionals in the area of safety at work, a new design for an industrial mat was proposed by us. The first prototypes were developed and validated with tests to verify the pressures and forces at the level of the sole of the foot and the friction of the mat on the floor. In the last phase of this project, the first functional prototype was tested in 60 workstations (30 in Portugal and 30 in Germany), with the aim of assessing the workers' perception of the benefits of the mat and the improvement of working conditions. The results were very good. The mat (SOLMAT) was manufactured and placed on the market.

Ergonomics in Benteler

Benteler is a company installed in the industrial park of Autoeuropa that manufactures suspensions for the automotive industry. The company was faced with a high number of problems associated with musculoskeletal disorders that were affecting the efficiency of the production system. Starting from the work situation using traditional Ergonomics and usability methodologies, we integrated the HARSim model “Humanoid Articulation Reaction Simulation” to identify musculoskeletal problems with work tasks. In a second phase, we used the Workman model to develop digital prototypes for the design of various work equipment. The design proposals were implemented on the production line and a subsequent usability analysis identified considerable improvements in the work situation.
This project also allowed evaluation the HARSim and WorkMan models developed in the Ergonomics Laboratory.

Ergonomics in REFER Operational Command Center

REFER Operational Command Centers (CCO) are responsible for managing all operational processes related to railway operation and traffic management in their coverage area. Given the responsibility of this work situation, it is essential that working conditions provide good usability and user experience for workers. In this context, this project aimed to improve working conditions at Refer's CCO in Lisbon. Starting from an evaluation of the usability of the interaction conditions of the workers with the equipment, centered on their perception of their working conditions, interaction problems were identified and justified in what way they could be responsible for risk situations, for workers and for the road system they control. Design proposals were developed for the CCO in Lisbon, related to the conditions of the physical space (new proposals for work layouts) and organizational space (design of work tasks).