The purposes of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of New Zealand (from the October 2015 Rules) are:
1. To promote the application of human factors/ergonomics knowledge
2. To advance human factors/ergonomics research, education, public awareness and professional standards
3. To perform any actions necessary or helpful to the above purposes.
The HFESNZ is enacting the society aims via a range of current projects. These include:
In the 1990’s society membership peaked at around 120, but from the 2000’s membership had a gradual decline to under 80 members, though is now climbing again. With little drive for or recognition of professional certification from the health and safety or design sectors; a struggle to ensure HFE papers and qualifications of a suitable standard/frequency; and a business and health and safety sector audience largely ignorant of the value of HFE (or at least with an unsophisticated understanding of the potential value), gaining a strong foothold in the market has been challenging. Whilst pockets of expertise and strong HFE service provision have existed, the market has been small - and with low demand comes associated supply issues.
The recent health and safety sector changes, post the Pike River mine disaster, is causing all professions in the health and safety sector to re-evaluate, and a greater focus on health and safety outcomes. HFESNZ is consequently developing and growing to ensure we remain relevant and vibrant. We believe that the field of human factors is as important as ever in our society. The health and safety sector in New Zealand is changing but other sectors are also becoming increasingly aware of the need to put people in the centre of systems. For example, the NZ Transport Agency has adopted the ‘Safe System’ approach to road safety, which includes the principles ‘people make mistakes’; ‘people are vulnerable’ and 'whole of system' approach. In the health sector, human factors principles are becoming increasingly important as evidenced by the work of the Health Quality and Safety Commission.
HFESNZ is therefore rebooting as an organisation for HFE professionals. Our focus must be on the development of the profession via quality education, solid professional development opportunities, the demand for professional excellence, active advocacy work, an effective disciplinary process, and strong leadership. Hence our strong list of current projects. We undertake: