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Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 84933

Prof Stephen Legg BSc(Hons)

Professor of Ergonomics

School of Health Sciences

Stephen Legg is currently Professor of Ergonomics, Head of the Postgraduate Ergonomics Programme and Director of the Centre for Ergonomics Occupational Safety and Health in the School of Public Health, College of Health at Massey University. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Human factors a Ergonomics (UK) and a Certified New Zealand Ergonomist. 


Stephen's undergraduate degree was a BSc (Hons) in Human Biology, Surrey University, UK. His doctorate was in occupational respiratory mechanics at the Medical Research Council, UK.  He worked as an Applied Physiologist with the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence for twelve years. This included one year in the Exercise Physiology Division of the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine and as a visiting senior lecturer to the Robens Institute of Industrial and Environmental Health and Safety at Surrey University.  He then  emigrated to New Zealand and worked as the New Zealand Defence Force Physiologist at the RNZAF Aviation Medicine unit for five years and for two years as the foundation manager of UniSports, the Centre for Sport Performance at Auckland University. He was President of the New Zealand Ergonomics Society (NZES) from 1995-1997, Convenor of the NZES Ergonomics in Schools Special Interest Group (1998-2001), NZES representative on the World Council of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA) (1998-2004), an Executive Committee member of IEA and Chair of the IEA Standing Committee for Professional Standards and Education (2003-6), and a visiting Professor to the Health Ergonomics Programme at Surrey University (2003-9).  

His teaching includes human environmental and exercise physiology, Sport Sciences, Advanced Research Methods, Ergonomics. At Auckland University he was responsible for initial formation of a Sports Science degree. At Massey University he developed and teaches papers in the Postgraduate Diploma in Ergonomics and Master of Ergonomics degree. He has supervised over 50 masters research students, 15 PhD students and examined 10 PhD theses.

His research has included human environmental applied industrial and military human factors, ergonomics and physiology, mechnisms for pulmonary dysfunction in coalminers, human limits in manual handling, work in the heat, cold water survival, sleep deprivation, mlitary and civil physical fitness standards, the effects of military physical training, human anthropometry and biodynamics (safety helmet design and "G' protection), sports science, sailing physiology and physical training for olympic competition, cycling safety, design of military boots and body armour.  His most recent research has centred on the identification of risk factors for musculoskeletal symptoms, the effects of mild hypoxia and of mild dehydration on complex cognitive (executive) function, especially in aviation and, occupational health and safety in small businesses. He has edited three journal special issues, reflcting a variety of research areas: Ergonomics in schools, Sailing Science (including medical aspects of sailing and the physiology of hiking).  He chaired the 2nd International  Conference on Understanding Small Enterprises (USE 2013), Nelson, New Zealand in  February 2013 and is currently thee Managing Guest Editor for two journal special issues: Safety Science and Small Enterprise Research. Stephen has published over 100 refereed papers in scientific journals.

30 years experience in industrial and military human factors and environmental physiology research, education and consultancy in UK, USA and New Zealand, including most recently sailing science, educational ergonomics, musculoskeletal discomfort at work and health and safety in small businesses.

Currently Professor of Ergonomics and Director of the Centre for Ergonomics, Occupational Safety and Health at Massey University, New Zealand, Fellow of the UK Institute for Ergonomics and Human Factors, Certified New Zealand Ergonomist. Formerly visiting Professor in Health Ergonomics at Surrey University, UK,   Executive Committee member and Chair for Professional Standards and Education of the International Ergonomics Association (2003-6).

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Contact details

  • Ph: 84933
    Location: BSC B1 05, Business Studies Central
    Campus: Turitea


  • BSc (Hons) - Surrey University (1981)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Ergonomics; manual handling;;lifting and load carriage;backpack design; musculoskeletal symptoms; environmental physiology; hypoxia;dehydration; multiple mild stressors;cogntive function; heat and cold (thermal environments and climates); exercise physiology; occupational health and safety; working environment; small businesses.


Health and Well-being

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Biological Sciences (060000):
Biomechanics (110601):
Business and Management (150300): Commerce, Management, Tourism And Services (150000):
Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (111705): Exercise Physiology (110602): Health Promotion (111712): Human Movement and Sports Science (110600): Medical And Health Sciences (110000):
Physiology (060600): Physiology not elsewhere classified (060699):
Public Health and Health Services (111700):
Small Business Management (150314)


Ergonomics; manual handling; musculoskeletal symptoms; environmental physiology; heat and cold ( thermal environments and climates); exercise physiology; occupational health and safety; working environment; small businesses.

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 0 10

Consultancy and Languages


  • English
    Last used: 2013
    Spoken ability: Excellent
    Written ability: Excellent
  • French
    Last used: 2012
    Spoken ability: Needs work
    Written ability: Needs work
  • Spanish/Portuguese
    Last used: 2010
    Spoken ability: Needs work
    Written ability: Needs work

Supervision and Teaching


I coordinated the development of, and have taught on the Massey University papers for, the postgraduate Diploma in Ergonomics and the Master of Ergonmics degree. This included papers: 128300 Ergonomics; work, performance, health and design; 128.702 Work capacity and performance; 128.705 Ergonimics analysis; 128.706 Micro-macro ergonomics; 128.707 People, technology and design; 128.709 Special Topic in Ergonomics; 128.801 Thesis in Ergonomics, 128.803 Research Report in Ergonomics; 128.804 Professional Practice in Ergonomics. Currently the massey Ergonomics programme is being revised and integrated into a wider range of College of health paper and qualifications offerings.

Current Doctoral Supervision

Co-supervisor of:

  • Mark Lidegaard - Doctor of Philosophy
    Realist analysis of the efficacy of the ACC Moving and Handling People Guidelines
  • Stacey Kung - Doctor of Philosophy
    The effects of body size on the determinants of gait transitions in children

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2013 - Baiduri Widanarko - Doctor of Philosophy
    Interaction between Physical and Psychosocial Work Risk Factors for Low Back Symptoms
  • 2013 - Kristin Murray - Doctor of Philosophy
    An empirical study of the characteristics of generational cohorts at work
  • 2003 - Philip Ramsey - Doctor of Philosophy
    The Learning Cultures of Organisations.
  • 2001 - Andrew Martin - Doctor of Philosophy
    Outward Bound, New Zealand: Process and Outcomes.

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2014 - Renee Hislop - Doctor of Philosophy
    The effect of estrogen and progesterone on sex differences in susceptibility to noise induced hearing loss
  • 2013 - Bikram Pandey - Doctor of Philosophy
    Understanding Occupational Health and Safety Risks and Participatory Practices in Small Businesses: Qualitative case studies of three small cafe and restaurant businesses
  • 1996 - Boi Yap - Doctor of Philosophy
    Ergonomic Design of a Physiologic Birth - Support System.

Media and Links

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