HFESNZ Purposes

The purposes of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of New Zealand (from the 18 June 2020 Rules) are:

1.  To promote the application of human factors/ergonomics knowledge 
2.  To advance human factors/ergonomics research, education, public awareness and professional standards
3.  To perform any actions necessary or helpful to the above purposes.

Current Projects

The HFESNZ is enacting the society aims via a range of current projects.  These include:

  • Growing the website to bring information about human factors and ergonomics to the public
  • Growing membership, and membership services and systems
  • Bringing human factors/ergonomics educational opportunities to members and other interested persons via webinars and other events
  • The provision of regular conferences and regional meetings
  • Monthly member newsletters and communications
  • Subscription access to the UK's CIEHF magazine 'The Ergonomist'
  • Actively working with the Health and Safety Association of New Zealand (HASANZto raise professional standards across the health and safety sector to provide healthier and safer workplaces for New Zealanders. Read the latest HASANZ report - Building the Professions Report, Nov 2019  
  • Active Healthcare Ergonomics Cluster, Transport Interest Group, and Musculoskeletal Interest Group
  • Contributing to WorkSafe NZ (and other government agency) guidance documents and planning activities.

See the HFESNZ 'Plan on a Page' here.

The past 

In the 1990’s society membership peaked at around 120, but from the 2000’s membership had a gradual decline to under 80 members, though is now climbing again. With little drive for or recognition of professional certification from the health and safety or design sectors; a struggle to ensure HFE papers and qualifications of a suitable standard/frequency; and a business and health and safety sector audience largely ignorant of the value of HFE (or at least with an unsophisticated understanding of the potential value), gaining a strong foothold in the market has been challenging. Whilst pockets of expertise and strong HFE service provision have existed, the market has been small - and with low demand comes associated supply issues.

The future

The recent health and safety sector changes, post the Pike River mine disaster, is causing all disciplines in the health and safety sector to re-evaluate, and a greater focus on health and safety outcomes. HFESNZ is consequently developing and growing to ensure we remain relevant and vibrant.  We believe that the field of human factors and ergonomics is as important as ever in our society.  The health and safety sector in New Zealand is changing but other sectors are also becoming increasingly aware of the need to put people in the centre of systems. For example, the NZ Transport Agency has adopted the ‘Safe System’ approach to road safety, which includes the principles ‘people make mistakes’; ‘people are vulnerable’ and 'whole of system' approach. In the health sector, human factors principles are becoming increasingly important as evidenced by the work of the Health Quality and Safety Commission.

HFESNZ is therefore rebooting as an organisation for HFE professionals. Our focus is on the development of the profession via quality education, solid professional development opportunities, professional excellence, active advocacy work, an effective disciplinary process, and strong leadership.  Hence our strong list of current projects. We undertake:

  • To pursue the continuation and strengthening of the society as the recognised professional entity for the certification of HFE professionals in New Zealand.
  • To encourage current New Zealand HFE practitioners who may meet certification criteria to gain certification, and therefore to gain a position on the national HASANZ register of competent and qualified HFE professionals.
  • To seek appropriate participation and activities to promote the professional practice of HFE in NZ, including collaboration with other professional associations.
  • To support and encourage the broad range of HFE practice areas.
  • To pursue opportunities with overseas bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors in the UK, for possible linked membership benefits.

We are excited to see that in 2020 our member numbers are climbing beyond 100 members, and our Professional Member numbers have grown by 64% in the last 5 years.