Technology and ergonomics at the SAN conference

Smart technical solutions that are kind to the body and which have simple logic. A large part of this autumn’s SAN conference in Göteborg was about this subject.
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Smart technical solutions that are kind to the body and which have simple logic. A large part of this autumn’s SAN conference in Göteborg was about this subject.

Mingle during a break. From the left: Margareta Lützhöft, Cecilia Österman and Karl-Henrik Anner.
Mingle during a break. From the left: Margareta Lützhöft, Cecilia Österman and Karl-Henrik Anner.

The day started off with the doyen of personnel and technology at sea, Margareta Lützhöft from Chalmers. She explained that the ergonomics is so much more than adjustable desks and comfortable chairs; there is also a mental aspect of ergonomics which affects everything from general well-being to safety.
– There are hardly any mistakes that are only caused by people. You can almost always find things in the environment that have influenced the situation, she says.
Technology designers are not typical
The fact that technology is not always as user friendly as it should be, according to Margareta Lützhöft, is partly because technology designers sometimes sees themselves as typical users. They start from their own physique, references, knowledge and needs instead of adapting the equipment to the conditions of personnel working onboard.
Although there are examples of well considered technical solutions. One of these was presented by the day’s second speaker, Erik Styhr Petersen from the Danish company Lyngsö Marine.
A working group made up of technicians from his own company and researchers at Chalmers built a radar together, based on research results on people’s ability to perceive and interpret information.
– We are very satisfied with the result. But you have to work hard for these ideas to be put into practice. Nothing changes by itself, says Erik Styhr Petersen.
During the afternoon there was a thought-provoking lecture on how work environment activities pay for themselves, and the fact that it is possible to valuate work environment measures down to the last penny. The speaker was the economist Paula Liukkonen from Stockholm University, who has studied the effects of ill health and work environment on companies’ revenues for many years.
Poor quality costs money
– When you can prove to the management that the costs of poor quality are near the level of the year’s profits, most of them become a little worried, she says.
Kersti Lorén from Previa was at a conference and talked about ergonomics to prevent strain injuries. She explained how our bodies are influenced by our way of sitting, walking, standing and working, and what we can do to avoid injuries.
The last speaker of the day was Fredrik Sundberg from BRP shipping company who is studying the programme Nordic Master’s at Chalmers. He illustrated how a loading surveillance station had been rebuilt on one of the company’s ships and was made into a much simpler and easier place to work in.
Energy levels in the audience were maintained during the day with frequent breaks for coffee, fruit and mingling with exhibitors invited to the conference. In the same way as last year, the day was concluded with a shared buffet.
Linda Sundgren

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