Rhodes University: HKE academic named President of Ergonomics Society of South Africa

Rhodes University lecturer in Human Kinetics and Ergonomics (HKE), Dr Jonathan Davy, has been elected President of the Ergonomics Society of South Africa (ESSA) for a period of three years.

Dr Davy first joined ESSA as a member in 2011 as a PhD student. During his earlier years, he enjoyed attending and presenting at the ESSA conferences, where he began to feel a kinship to the Society’s roles and objectives.

Established in February 1985, ESSA intends to support the dissemination, knowledge, and application of ergonomics and professional practice, seeking co-operation with social and economic development.

In 2015, Dr Davy officially began his service as the Treasurer Secretary of ESSA and occupied the Vice-President position in 2017 before being appointed President in 2020.

“As Vice-President, my role was largely operational. As the President, along with designated members of our Council, I represent the Society in engagements with key stakeholders that share similar interests in promoting health and safety in South African workplaces. These include the Department of Employment and Labour, the South African Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and the South African Institute for Occupational Hygiene,” he explained.

During his time at ESSA, Dr Davy also served as Scientific Chair for two symposia, where he represented ESSA and other interested stakeholders more broadly. Furthermore, he represents the Society during any International Ergonomics Association (IEA) Council meetings or events while also ensuring ESSA members are aware of any international events or opportunities, all of which aim to create awareness of the benefits associated with the implementation of ergonomics in South Africa. “This is more important than ever, given that the Department of Employment and Labour promulgated Ergonomics regulations in South Africa in December 2019,” he said.

He is also the Editor of the Society’s journal, ErgonomicsSA, a role he took over from Rhodes University Associate Professor of HKE, Professor Candice Christie, in 2018.

“The experience and insights I have gained over the years gave ESSA members the confidence to elect me as the President, for which I am truly honoured,” he said.

According to Dr Davy, the interactions he has with local, regional and international practitioners, researchers and governance structures allows him to gain insights into the latest developments in his research field, practice and policy. “And sharing this insight is very beneficial to my students, as it contributes meaningfully towards shaping what and how I teach and do research. This specifically applies to educating and training students both to understand the latest global trends and to be responsive to the needs of local South African workplaces,” he concluded.

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