My first degree is in Ergonomics from Loughborough University.  I graduated back in 1990 and upon graduation I worked in consultancy for a dozen years, initially for Loughborough University and subsequently for Human Applications, an ergonomics and risk management company based in Loughborough. I became Director of Ergonomics for Human Applications Ltd and undertook a wide range of projects but my main focus was the avoidance and management of musculoskeletal disorders. This included everything from initial design work through to specialist assessments and expert witness work. Alongside my consultancy work, I provided a range of training courses including Display Screen Equipment and Manual Handling risk assessment.

My interest in musculoskeletal disorders was so great however that I decided to move out of consultancy and I took a Masters in Occupational Health Psychology at Nottingham before undertaking some research into back pain back at Loughborough University. I then joined the University of Derby to develop the Ergonomics MSc programme. My primary research interest remains musculoskeletal disorders, but I also have a big interest in behaviour change and a developing interest in issues around safety climate.

Your Thoughts About Online Learning

Online approaches allow our MSc students to study successfully and hone their critical skills whilst still at work.  For many of these students a ‘traditional’ teaching route would not be possible, but supported asynchronous working leads to successful knowledge and skills acquisition and we have seen many of these students show fantastic performance.


Professional Memberships

Chartered member of Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (C.ErgHF)

Registered member of the Centre for Registration of European Ergonomists (Eur.Erg)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)


BSc Ergonomics – Loughborough University

MSc Occupational Health Psychology – University of Nottingham

Post Graduate Certificate in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education – University of Derby



Thornton, C, Sheffield, D, & Baird, A 2017, ‘A longitudinal exploration of pain tolerance and participation in contact sports’. Scandinavian Journal of Pain, 16, 36-44

Baird, A & Sheffield, D 2016, ‘The Relationship between Pain Beliefs and Physical and Mental Health Outcome Measures in Chronic Low Back Pain: Direct and Indirect Effects’. Healthcare, 4, 58

De Bruyne, M, Van Renterghem, B, Baird, A, Palmans T, Daneels, L, & Dolphens, M 2016, ‘Influence of different stool types on muscle activity and lumbar posture among dentists during a simulated dental screening task’. Applied Ergonomics, 56, 220-226

Baird, A & Haslam, R 2013, ‘Exploring differences in Pain Beliefs between a large non-clinical (workplace) population and a clinical (chronic low back pain) population using the Pain Beliefs Questionnaire’. Physical Therapy, 93, 12:1615-1624


Williams, C, Baird, A, Denning, E, & Sheffield, D 2016, ‘Encouraging postural breaks – findings from the two year Move More study’. PREMUS 2016, Toronto, 20-23 June

Shirreff, S & Baird, A 2016 ‘Safety Climate – Revealing the ‘X Factor’’. In: Waterson, P, Sims, R and Hubbard EM (Eds) Contemporary Ergonomics & Human Factors 2016:

Baird, A & Williams, C 2013, ‘Musculoskeletal Disorders - Are we better off seeing them as pain conditions rather than injuries?’. Canadian Association of Ergonomists 44th Annual Conference Whistler, October 7-10,

Book Chapters

Baird, A, Williams, C, & Ferris, A 2017, ‘Becoming a Human Factors/Ergonomics Practitioner’ In: Shorrock, S, and Williams, C, (eds) Human Factors & Ergonomics in Practice. CRC Press, Boca Raton

Research Reports

Williams, C, Denning, E, Baird, A, & Sheffield, D, 2014. ‘Move more – Investigating the impact of behaviour change techniques on break taking behaviour at work’. IOSH 


Research Interests

My primary research interests relate to the psychology of pain with a particular interest in how beliefs about pain impact upon painful experiences and how individuals cope and manage their pain. My research has been particularly focused on chronic pain and why some individuals fail to recover. The context for this has primarily been in relation to musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain and upper limb pain, but I have a broad interest in pain including pain in sport.

Alongside my research into pain, I have a developing interest in all aspects of behaviour change and an interest in safety climate, with a PhD student looking at the impact of key individuals’ personal characteristics on safety climate and safety performance.