Professor Robin Burgess-Limerick
Professor Robin Burgess-Limerick
29 August 2011

Human factors research is about to take centre stage with Professor Robin Burgess-Limerick joining the Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre (MISHC) at The University of Queensland.

As the new UQ Professor of Human Factors, the internationally regarded and award-winning ergonomist, Professor Burgess-Limerick is set to ramp up the research to reduce risk in mine sites.

Every injury involves human factors in some way.

With over 168,000 Australians directly employed in mining, it is an area worth studying.

“Human factors and ergonomics examine the interactions between people and systems," Professor Burgess-Limerick said.

"It also examines our human abilities and characteristics and how to apply that to the design and operation of equipment, systems, and jobs to optimise human safety and health, and overall performance.

“Taking the strengths and limitations of humans into consideration means equipment, work and systems can be designed to be more efficient, more productive, and most importantly, safer.”

The Centre director, Professor David Cliff, said Human Factors was a key area of research for MISHC.

“We undertake extensive research into human factors engineering with focus on the delivery of useful industry resources for managing safety and health risks,” Professor David Cliff said.

Professor Burgess-Limerick said there are many research questions that still remain, particularly if the levels of automation envisaged by the industry are to be achieved.

“A goal over the next five years is to work with MISHC’s Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table (EMESRT), to develop and promote the uptake of human factors tools and techniques relevant to the design and procurement of mining equipment,” Professor Burgess-Limerick said.

MISHC is one of six centres which make up the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) within The University of Queensland.

Since its establishment in 1998 MISHC has become a leading provider of minerals industry risk management education and research for the global Minerals Industry.

A certified professional ergonomist since 1992, Professor Burges Limerick has received numerous awards for research including an ACARP Research Excellence Award, and a 2006 National Academy of Sciences (USA) Senior Research Associateship within the Office of Mine Safety and Health Research, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Pittsburgh.

His publications include the 2011 CRC press book titled “Human Factors for the Design, Operation and Maintenance of Mining Equipment" co-authored with Associate Prof Tim Horberry (MISHC) & Lisa Steiner (NIOSH).

Media: Liliana Campos Communication Officer Sustainable Minerals Institute Tel: (61 7) 3346 4117 Email: