Biomechanical Engineer vs. Human Factors Engineer

In the engineering field, both biomechanical and human factors engineers deal with the human body motion but do so in different ways.

Biomechanics is the study of forces acting on the human body and the injuries resulting from these forces. Biomechanical Engineers investigate bodily injuries caused in motor vehicle accidents, amusement park accidents, construction accidents, diving accidents, elevator accidents, industrial accidents, maritime accidents, medical devices, pedestrian accidents, playground accidents, railroad accidents, recreation accidents, sports accidents, and slips, trips, and falls. A biomechanical engineer can relate how the human body was affected in these types of accidents.

Human Factors is the evaluation of the interaction between humans and their environment. Human factors experts have specific knowledge in human perception and cognition; factors such as reaction time, attention, distraction, and fatigue. CED’s Human Factors experts are often retained on cases involving accident avoidance, perception response time, pedestrian accidents, distracted driving, use/misuse of consumer products, warning labels and manuals, and signage.

As an example, if a worker’s arm was broken operating a ride at an amusement park job, a biomechanical engineer can explain how the specifics of the forces and motions in the accident caused injury to the body. A human factors engineer can explain if there was a technical failure within the amusement park ride, or whether the worker made an operational error that resulted in the broken arm.

Both biomechanical and human factors engineers are likely to use the same types of questions to determine causation:

  1. Are the injuries consistent with evidence presented?
  2. Did an injury or death occur as claimed?
  3. Could the injuries or death have been prevented, and how?
  4. Was the individual capable of performing the claimed injurious activity?
  5. Did a defective product cause injury or death?

Getting the correct expert for your case is key.  If you need to determine whether you need a biomechanical or human factors engineer, CED has expertise you can trust. Contact us to review your next case or submit a case request online.