Dr Valerie O'Keeffe

Senior Research Fellow in Human Factors

College of Business, Government and Law

place Tonsley Building
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Building on a background in applied health sciences (prosthetics and orthotics), Valerie has worked in a diversity of roles focused on human factors, ergonomics and workplace health and safety. Valerie's experience spans work health and safety policy development, consultancy, research, rehabilitation, training and education, and management systems certification where she has worked for SafeWork South Australia, SafeWork Australia, SAI Global and the former WorkCover Corporation.

As a researcher, Valerie's current project in the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute (AITI) examines human factors in the adoption of advanced technologies (including robotics, augmented reality, motion capture, wearables, and end user computing) in designing safe, healthy and sustainable work in digital shipbuilding, collaborating with BAE Systems Australia - Maritime.

Previous projects have focused on worker performance in healthcare settings including investigating nurses' health and safety decision making in the context of patient encounters and the influence of aged care workers' job quality and design on health and safety and client care. Valerie specialises in human factors and ergonomics including psychosocial and physical hazards aimed at workplace injury prevention and sustainable performance. She also researches management systems, and the regulation of and policy framework for the management of psychosocial risks at work.

Valerie's teaching focus is on sociotechnical systems, including human factors, ergonomics and organisational safety.


PhD (Social Psychology), UniSA

Master of Ergonomics, University of Queensland

Bachelor of Psychological Science, UniSA

Graduate Diploma Occupational Health, University of Adelaide

Graduate Diploma Social Science (Rehabilitation), University of SA

Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management, Flinders University

Diploma Applied Science (Prosthetics and Orthotics) Latrobe University

Honours, awards and grants

Australian Councillor, International Ergonomics Association, 2020

Fellow of the Australian Institute of Health and Safety, 2020

Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia, 2019

Emerald Publishing/EMFD Award for Outstanding Doctoral Research in Healthcare Management, 2015

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia David Ferguson Postgraduate Student Award, 2015

Teaching interests

Valerie's teaching interests are human factors, ergonomics, safety management systems and psychosocial risk

Supervisory interests
Human Machine Interface and Human Factors
Workplace behaviours, legal implications
Workplace injury
Higher degree by research supervision
Associate supervisor: psychology (2)