Musculoskeletal Interest Group

Who are we?

  • The Musculoskeletal Interest Group (MIG) was formed at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of New Zealand (HFESNZ) conference meeting in 2019.
  • Our group consists of HFESNZ society members with diverse backgrounds related to musculoskeletal fields such as anthropometry, health and rehabilitation/physiotherapy, medical practitioners, occupational health and safety, occupational therapy, office ergonomics, physiology, sports science, psychology, vocal ergonomics, and workplace design.
  • Our members have affiliations with the government regulator (WorkSafe New Zealand), tertiary research institutions (e.g., AUT, Auckland, La Trobe, Loughborough, Massey, Otago, and Victoria universities), research institutes, the ACC, the health sector, private practice, and consultancies.

Why is musculoskeletal research and consultancy important?

  • Approximately 1.71 billion people are affected by musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) worldwide.
  • Work-related musculoskeletal conditions have traditionally been difficult to manage, and prevalence rates continue to increase.
  • In New Zealand, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) represent almost one-third of the overall burden of harm from work-related ill-health and injury. That equates to 15,000 Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) lost in New Zealand per annum.
  • Industries such as construction, agriculture, manufacturing, and transport, postal and warehousing have comparably high incidence (rate per 1,000 workers) of MSD claims between 2016 and 2018.

The role of ergonomics and human factors

  • Historically, our members have played important roles in developing resources such as the Discomfort, Pain and, Injury (DPI) model, HabitAtWork programme, Approved Code of Practice for Manual Handling, Patient Handling Guidelines, Work Smart tips, guidelines for using computers, Risk Reckoner tool, and various industry-led research and initiatives.
  • As work practices and technology evolve, HFE professionals are increasingly called upon to utilise their multi-disciplinary skills (e.g., design, biomechanics, anatomy, psychology) to address musculoskeletal health.
  • Today, ergonomists or human factors professionals have made significant contributions to the understanding, and promotion of musculoskeletal health in New Zealand.


What is involved?

  • Meeting dates will be confirmed at the start of each year and will be typically one-hour in duration (depending on availability and agenda times).
  • Members are encouraged to share their work or perspectives either through an outline of their work programme, or a general discussion on a relevant topic or issue.
  • Meetings are chaired by a convener. The convener is responsible for chairing the meetings, setting, the agenda, producing and dissemination of meeting minutes, managing the group calendar, and presenting the group findings at the HFESNZ Annual General Meeting.


Interested in learning more?

Membership is open to all HFESNZ society members with relevant qualifications and work experience in musculoskeletal disorders. For more information or if you are interested in joining or contributing, please email Stephven Kolose (