Ergonomics and a new methodology for ICUs

The authors discuss the benefits of the architect and the ergonomist working together on architectural design projects. In this instance, Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in hospitals in Rio de Janeiro.

Architectural design is responsible for the quality of the spaces created within a building and also their functionality and interrelationship. Human factors offers a way to analyse the spaces and activities. Both look at the quality of the space but seldom work together. A project that includes both areas will result in a design that contemplates the functionality, dimensions, lighting and acoustics and will meet the expectations of the patients and staff. Often ergonomics are only considered

at the stage when the space is already in use, and is seldom brought into play at the beginning of a project. The authors propose that, instead of simply passing on ergonomic recommendations, it is advisable that the ergonomists are involved in the project development, from its outset. Architecture mainly creates

spaces to shelter different kinds of human activities. When creating work spaces, the ergonomist will be able to help the architect to ensure a qualified space. When it comes to health spaces the importance of ergonomics increases, as the interaction between the human and space becomes more intense and sensitive when stressed or ill. During the design of a built

environment such as a hospital humans are the main concern, and it is important to attend to their needs holistically. Hospital spaces need to be designed in an interdisciplinary way to meet physiology, psychology, psychosomatics, neuropsychology, ergonomics, and the architecture needs as a whole. It is a role of ergonomics to

understand the future activity of 58

a space and the possible consequences of choices made during its design. In the health space, knowledge about how the activities within a space are performed will guarantee a better space and orientation for the architect. An ergonomic evaluation will help ensure the architect is able to deliver a better quality space. The work undertaken for this study

required cooperation in complex socio- technical environments, such as ICUs. It demonstrated the importance of thinking about the contribution of ergonomics in the design of different work situations. The authors looked at studies

conducted over the past 25 years to examine the role of ergonomics in design, in order to better understand the possible role of ergonomics in the design process. According to some authors, the

Liane Flemming

Liane Flemming has a degree in architecture from Santa Úrsula University, a master’s degree in architecture from the Federal

University of Rio de Janeiro and a doctorate in architecture from the

Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. She is a consultant in architecture at Ergon Projects of Ergonomics and Design Ltda. She has worked on many architectural

projects for single-family residences, multifamily, in the

health area (mainly ICU), commercial and control rooms and is also responsible for management in the construction sector through the execution of works.

Venétia Santos

Venétia Corrêa Santos graduated in Industrial Design from the State University of Rio de Janeiro in 1981, specialising in Ergonomics. She has been working in ergonomics for 30 years, having started her research at the National

Institute of Technology – INT, of the Ministry of Science and Technology. She worked as a consultant at ERGON Ergonomics Projects and was responsible for human

reliability studies and ergonomics projects at 40 Control Centers in Brazil.

ergonomist should accompany the process of design, posing as a mediator between those responsible for the development and those responsible for the project, or should participate as a consultant of the entrepreneur (Martin, 2007). In the authors experience, the

knowledge generated by the set of human factors can be grouped and formalised in a product: conceptual design ergonomic. A conceptual design ergonomics reference should be established at the beginning of any proposed new work situations, to conceptualise future work, and generating support to project progress, the development of environments criteria for architectural design; layout of the workplace; and design of interfaces and devices for exchanging information, among others. The ICUs generated by these

interactions resulted in differentiated spaces with the use of colour, paintings, good lighting, convenience for patients companions, space for patients personal memories and pictures and others details which brings human aspects to a space that traditionally has been quite austere. Considering the steps of the

methodology of the human factor professionals for evaluation, development and validation of implementation of work situations, we present the developed tools obtained from ergonomic studies carried out, namely: The ergonomics methodology is able

to perform diagnostics, to assess the work activities and generate a reference activity to be used in the design of new work situations. To facilitate the diagnosis of work situations a Database Benchmark of Human Activity has been developed. This is a tool capable of storing and organising data, and processing and cross-referencing existing data. It can be accessed and made available to the teams involved in the design process. When utilised in a new project this tool provides knowledge gained from other


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