Massey Ergonomics graduate undertakes research with USCAR 

“Has emotion has gotten the better of me?”

Reuben  Delamere’s interest in Human factors and Ergonomics commenced through study with Massey, completing a Bachelor of Aviation Systems Management (BAv) focusing on Human Factors and Psychology with Massey in 2000.  Through his involvement in aviation, (both as Pilot and Cabin crew), he was immersed into the world of operational and organisation error management, Crew Resource Management, investigations and non-technical skills training and knowledge development with Air New Zealand.  This experience was supported with his completion of a Post Graduate Diploma of Business Administration (PGDipBusAdmin) in (2006), considering more systemic and organisational influences in behaviour and systems consequences.  Later involvement in management within Air New Zealand provided opportunities in change management and organisational culture analysis, implementing change programs within the aviation environment.

While undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma in Ergonomics (PGDipErg) (completed in 2012), a position was offered in Melbourne, Australia 2010 to provide Human Factors advice to the metropolitan rail franchise Metro Trains and introduce internal capability for the rail operator in applying Ergonomic approaches and support.  “This role was a culture shock for me for many reasons, but the environment, people and experiences were amazing”.

The role provided support for operational and management stakeholders as well as at the State and National levels.  In conjunction with his current role as a Senior Consultant with Ergonomie Australia, he has had exposure to the application of many methodologies in diverse industry, including error analysis, product design and analysis, safety systems, workload assessment, usability and HF integration.

To date, the stand out project has been utilising ergonomic design to change behaviour.   “Currently under trial, we modified the design of a passenger door handle linked to physiological limitations and social conditioning to minimise the risk of injury or fatality”. 

Whilst applying ergonomics and HF in practice has been rewarding in itself, he has always hankered after more advanced study and research.  So when the opportunity arose to undertake research with Paul Salmon and Natassia Goode at the University of the Sunshine Coast Accident Research Centre (USCAR), he applied for a Scholarship and was successful.  He commenced his research as a PhD candidate on the 1st of October 2013.

“I’ve been fascinated by the influence of affect and emotion in systems and incidents for a number of years now.  There appears a void in some of our approaches and methodologies in considering emotion and I’m interested in reviewing potential angles to capture the influence on human and system performance”

Of his time with Massey, says Reuben ‘I don't think you realise how much change the staff at Massey and the Massey Ergonomics programme and particularly the mentorship and patience of Professor Stephen Legg  brought about in my approach and understanding of Ergonomics... I aim to do you proud and will keep in touch.”

Reuben is a current member of the HFESA and an affiliate of the IEHF (UK). He is commencing the process of becoming a Certified Practicing Ergonomist (CPE).

Figure 1 The Challenger disaster, did emotion influence systemic decisions?

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