About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1370-1373
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain

VOCATIONAL ERGONOMICS SKILLS IN HUMAN ROBOT COLLABORATION

L. O'Sullivan

University of Limerick, Ergonomics Research Group (IRELAND)
The purpose of this paper is describe strategies adopted by the Ergonomics Research Group at the University of Limerick to address issues around vocational safety skills of workers on international EC funded research projects based on technology changes which have changed the demands on their skills.

The research group has been involved in industry focused ergonomics projects on Framework 3 through to Framework 7 and on Leonardo agency projects. EC projects require that applied research projects address societal issues. Given that industrial ergonomics has a key focus reducing workplace injuries it is relatively straight forward to make this case. However, societal issues around vocational skills especially ageism and gender differences in work practice is a more difficult research aim. However, with the growing automation of work practices and the increase in human robot collaboration, traditional physically demanding jobs are now being turned into more rewarding jobs for workers across the age spectrum and for both genders. Increased work automation reduces the physical demands on workers but often increase the cognitive requirements on the job. One benefit of this is increase job enrichment for workers and greater diversity of work tasks. But this brings a challenge to workplaces to consider how the skill set of the human capital in the organisation is managed. Ergonomics science endorses a participatory approach to workplace design and review, however, many workers are not involved in the design of training programms and in the design of human robot collaborations based on their skill sets.

This study summarises the contributions of research at the University to skill acquisition at a vocational level in workplaces in both repetitive work and also heavy manual handling work. There is a natural distinction between training orientated EC funded projects, such as under Leonardo Agency projects which often target vocational skills, Marie Curie projects which support high academic research skills, Erasmus Mundus which support Masters level initiatives around academic skills, and Framework/Horizon 2020 projects which focus on basic and applied science. In this study we detail how vocational skills of workers can be indirectly supported on Framework programme and Horizon 2020 projects. In particular, in the last call of Framework 7 and in Horizon 2020, the Factory of the Future calls have stipulated high Technology Readiness Level projects, which in effect, dictate that the project achievements must be realised very soon in industry. But this also dictates that the vocational skills of workers with these new technologies must be responsive to support the new achievements on the shop floor of the companies. A growing area of focus in EC projects has been to promote the robot assisted human work. But this work involves a new set of vocational skills for worker than previous enjoyed. The challenge is that there is little known about the tacit human skills in human robot collaboration and little research has been performed on how the skills can be taught or learned.

This study specifically addresses challenges with vocational tacit skill acquisition in increasing human robot collaboration in work environments as part of research on the ROBOMATE EC project.
@InProceedings{OSULLIVAN2014VOC,
author = {O'Sullivan, L.},
title = {VOCATIONAL ERGONOMICS SKILLS IN HUMAN ROBOT COLLABORATION},
series = {6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN14 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-0557-3},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {7-9 July, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {1370-1373}}
TY - CONF
AU - L. O'Sullivan
TI - VOCATIONAL ERGONOMICS SKILLS IN HUMAN ROBOT COLLABORATION
SN - 978-84-617-0557-3/2340-1117
PY - 2014
Y1 - 7-9 July, 2014
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN14 Proceedings
SP - 1370
EP - 1373
ER -
L. O'Sullivan (2014) VOCATIONAL ERGONOMICS SKILLS IN HUMAN ROBOT COLLABORATION, EDULEARN14 Proceedings, pp. 1370-1373.
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