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Lillian Moller Gilbreth (1878-1972)
Lillian Gilbreth and Frank Gilbreth - The Birth of Ergonomics
Lillian Moller GilbrethLillian Gilbreth
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Lillian Gilbreth "Mother of Modern Management"

Lillian Gilbreth, together with her husband Frank Gilbreth, pioneered industrial management techniques still in use today.

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Lillian Moller Gilbreth was an inventor, author, industrial engineer, industrial psychologist, and mother of twelve children. A pioneer in ergonomics, Gilbreth patented many kitchen appliances including an electric food mixer, shelves inside refrigerator doors, and the famous trash can with a foot-pedal lid-opener. Lillian Gilbreth is best known for her work to help workers in industry with her classic Time & Motion Studies, which supported work simplification and industrial efficiency. Lillian Gilbreth was one of the first scientists to recognized the effects of stress and lack of sleep on the worker.

After the death of her husband Frank Gilbreth with whom she had co-authored many of the worker studies and were partners in the management consulting firm of Gilbreth, Inc., Lillian Gilbreth continued her work and turned her attention to the household worker and increasing the efficiency of kitchen appliances.

Lillian Gilbreth was an industrial engineer for General Electric and worked on improving kitchen designs. Gilbreth interviewed over 4,000 women to design the proper height for stoves, sinks, and other kitchen fixtures. In 1966, she became the fist women to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is essentially fitting the workplace to the worker. It involves the application of knowledge about human capacities and limitations to the design of workplaces, jobs, tasks, tools, equipment, and the environment.

The goal of ergonomics in the workplace is to prevent injuries and illnesses (work-related musculoskeletal disorders or WMDs) by reducing or eliminating worker exposure to occupational hazards. These hazards include:

  • Awkward postures 
  • Repetition 
  • Force 
  • Mechanical compression 
  • Duration 
  • Vibration 
  • Temperature extremes 
©Mary Bellis
Reference - http://chppm-www.apgea.army.mil/ergopgm/Faq/FAQ.htm

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