Steven Fischer

Associate Professor; Associate Chair of Applied Research, Partnerships and Outreach
Stephen Prentice

Contact Information

Office: BMH 3031

Phone: 519-888-4567, ext. 42368


Website: Occupational Biomechanics and Ergonomics Lab

Remote video URL

Research interests

My research optimizes human performance in the workplace by focusing in four themes:

Discovering biomechanical determinants of occupational performance

  • This use-inspired fundamental research theme explores how our unique abilities determine how we move when completing common tasks like lifting, pushing or pulling at work.

Advancing functional capacity evaluation

  • This line of inquiry explores how the principles of biomechanics and motor control can be exploited to advance job matching and return-to-work to optimize workplace performance and prevent musculoskeletal disorders.

Advancing digital human modeling

  • Within this theme, we evaluate the strengths and limitations associated with the predictive capabilities of digital human modeling (DHM) software and conduct experimental research to generate new knowledge to improve the predictive capabilities of DHM approaches.

Inform better, safer products 

  • Leveraging fundamental knowledge from our determinants of movement behaviour theme, we blend principles of biomechanics, motor control and ergonomics to develop new ways to evaluate and improve the design of “ergonomic” products.

Graduate supervision and student opportunities

  • Research volunteer
  • Undergraduate thesis
  • MSc thesis
  • PhD thesis
  • Postdoctoral fellowship
  • Research assistant/coordinator

Contact me for more information on joining our team.

Graduate studies application details

Remote video URL

MSc Kinesiology candidate Dan Armstrong is supervised by Professor Fischer. Watch Dan's experience of the lab he works in, and the colleagues he collaborates with.

Teaching, expertise, tools and technologies


  • Task analysis
  • Occupational biomechanics
  • Ergonomic aspects of occupational musculoskeletal injuries 


  • Physical Ergonomics
  • Digital Human Modeling
  • Functional Capacity Evaluation
  • Muscoloskeletal Disorder (MSD) Prevention


KIN 320: Task Analysis

KIN 420: Occupational Biomechanics


BSc Kinesiology, Univeristy of Waterloo

MSc Sport and Exercise Science, University of New Brunswick

PhD Kinesiology, University of Waterloo

​Selected publications

See Google Scholar for full list of publications.

Makhoul, P. J., Sinden, K. E., MacPhee, R. S., & Fischer, S. L. (2017). Relative contribution of lower body work as a biomechanical determinant of spine sparing technique during common paramedic lifting tasks. Journal of applied biomechanics, 33(2), 137-143.

Fischer, S. L., Sinden, K. E., & MacPhee, R. S. (2017). Identifying the critical physical demanding tasks of paramedic work: Towards the development of a physical employment standard. Applied ergonomics, 65, 233-239.

Sheahan, P. J., Cashaback, J. G., & Fischer, S. L. (2017). Evaluating the Ergonomic Benefit of a Wrist Brace on Wrist Posture, Muscle Activity, Rotational Stiffness, and Peak Shovel-Ground Impact Force During a Simulated Tree-Planting Task. Human factors, 59(6), 911-924.

Derouin, A. J., & Fischer, S. L. (2019). Validation of a three-dimensional visual target acquisition system for evaluating the performance effects of head supported mass. Applied ergonomics, 76, 48-56.