Course syllabus

Course-PM MPP027

Production ergonomics & Work design

 SP4, spring term 2021 (7.5 hp)          last updated: 2021-03-15

This course is offered by the department of Industrial and Materials Science

Welcome to the course MPP027, Production Ergonomics & Work Design. We hope you will enjoy and be challenged by this perspective of production engineering work, which will introduce you to the human aspects of production systems and how you can design healthier and more productive workplaces.

We have had to make some changes to the course project to teach the contents in the face of Covid-19 safety precautions. It's the first time we try out this new solution, so please be patient with us and let us know how we're doing as we go along! Also, the course documents may change in minor details up until March 22nd when the course starts. 


MAIN COURSE INSTRUCTORS:                                                                                 
Cecilia Berlin, Ph.D. (examiner)              Peter Almström, Ph.D.
031-772 1290                                                   031- 772 1283               

PSL Lab Officer:                                
Hans Sjöberg, Research Eng.         
031-772 3692                                             


Course objectives

Production Ergonomics and Work Design (PEWD) is an engineering discipline concerned with supporting the safe, sustainable, healthy, effective and economic involvement of human resources in industrial work. The course relates engineering improvements to productivity factors in industrial operations and introduces human requirements and capacities during work, covering individual, physiological, biomechanical, work-environmental and social aspects.

Course Content and Organization

The course content is defined by the activities as indicated in the course schedule. The course consists of lectures, quizzes, exercises, lab work, and a group project. The exercises, labs and project introduce students to pen-and-paper as well as virtual methods for work method and time studies, plus methods for physical workload assessment.

The project involves organizing yourselves as a team, booking time to carry out the project and independently performing tests and measurements outside of scheduled class time. To facilitate this and to ensure Covid-19 safety, your course management will assist you in assembling safely in groups. 

Learning outcomes

The course aims to enable you to accomplish the list of skills in the Learning Outcomes table below. The course provides a ‘toolbox’ of methods that you can apply in various industrial applications to improve ergonomics/human factors and productivity in parallel. Students will learn important considerations of human work in production environments, and will be equipped with the skills to analyze manual work, identify ergonomics problems as well as productivity potentials, prioritize among them, design improvements, and evaluate solutions from different perspectives.

The knowledge gained through the course is fundamental when designing workplaces, products, and machines for industrial production.


Learning outcomes



Explain why human factors issues must be considered when designing industrial work

Lectures, Home studies, Project,

Presentation, Quizzes (generally)

Project, Presentation,

Essays (generally)

Identify harmful work conditions on the basis of theory and methods

Lectures 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 14; Home studies, Midway project report, LAB

Essays corresponding to lecture(s); LAB

Discuss different work environment parameters’ effect on ergonomics

Lecture 11, Home studies,


Essay corresponding to lecture; Project

Carry out a design for assembly (DFA) study

Lecture 12, Home studies

Essay corresponding to lecture

Select and apply a proper method to study and quantify human physical workload in an observed situation

Lecture 4, LAB, Project

Essay corresponding to lecture; LAB, Project

Select and apply a predetermined time system

Lecture 6, Project

Essay corresponding to lecture;  Project

Design an appropriate material presentation at a workplace.

Lecture 8, Project

Essay corresponding to lecture;  Project

Justify why and explain how to carry out a set-up improvement

Lecture 13

Essay corresponding to lecture

Select appropriate hand tools for improving ergonomics and productivity in manual assembly

Lectures 3, 4, 7b, 10, 



Explain and justify recommendations and limit values for mental and social working conditions, in the long and short term

Lectures 1, 5, 11, 14

Essay(s)  corresponding to lecture(s);  Project

Explain how human physical measurements affect workplace and equipment design

Lecture 4, 8, 10,  Workshop 2, Project

Essay corresponding to lecture; Project

Carry out a time study and a performance rating

Lecture 9, Project

Essay corresponding to lecture; Project

Evaluate a work place design solution from an economical point of view (including HF aspects)

Lecture 7a, Project

Essay corresponding to lecture; Project

Motivate and defend a proposed work place design solution

All lectures, Project



Completion of the following mandatory grading elements and activities are required to pass the course:


Individual component (60%)

Group component (40%)

Presence and passing grade for individual activities:

·       Mandatory classroom activities (Ergonomics methods Lab, L8, Guest Lecture)

·       Individual feedback on other project groups at project seminar

·       Grade 1 or 2 on each question from the individual essays + peer feedback (min. 15 points, max 30 points) - see the page About essay assignments

Passing grade for group project activities:

·       Group contract/ project plan

·       Current state analysis (midway report)

·       Participation in final project seminar with peer evaluation

·       Project presentation

·       Grade 1 or 2 on all the criteria for the final project report (min. 10 points, max 20 points) - see the document Project PM 2021


Total Grade levels (individual + project part)

25 - 32p

33 - 41p

42 - 50p

min 50%

min 67%

min 83%

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5


Mandatory participation

Attendance will be registered at the Physical ergonomics lab, the midway tutoring session  and at the Final project presentation seminar, all of which will be required for a passing grade.


We continually examine your understanding of each week’s course contents using online essay assignments, examining the contents of the lectures and associated reading materials. All quizzes are released at the start of the course and students must individually complete answers at home (using literature references) and hand in answers by the deadline specified on the course schedule. Students have an option to postpone hand-in of quizzes to the end of SP3, at the cost of 1 point.

Please hand in all documents in PDF format (this speeds up the grading process) using the online PingPong interface.

Normally, each quiz question is graded on a scale of 0-1-2, where 0 = fail. It is required that you gain at least 15p to pass the course. The total sum of points from all quizzes corresponds to 60% of each student’s individual grade. 

 Each quiz answer MUST BE INDIVIDUALLY FORMULATED – all hand-ins are analyzed for copying using the automatic system URKUND and no plagiarism of sources or between students is tolerated!



The project requirements are described in detail in a separate Project PM and involve several group hand-ins. Deadline dates are specified in the Course Schedule and Assignment Guide.


The main literature for the course, Handouts and slides will be made available at the Literature module in Canvas.

More recommended reading (accessible via Chalmers Library)

The E-books can be accessed from a computer on the Chalmers network (including the Nomad and Eduroam wifi networks) or via Chalmers library homepage (search for the book in the “Chance” catalogue, and follow the link to the e-book).



Course summary:

Date Details Due