Sue Alexander prefers to work ‘at the top of the cliff’. Her previous work as a physiotherapist was like being ‘the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’. This ignited her passion for injury prevention through ergonomics. She uses a proactive approach in designing the work to reduce the chances of people ‘getting it wrong’ and hurting themselves. This means that the work becomes ‘do-able’ for more people (regardless of age or ability) and that the workplace is a better place to be.

Sue became a Professional Member Associate of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of New Zealand in 2006. She has over 20 years’ experience working as a consultant Occupational Health Physiotherapist and Ergonomist in private practice for large corporates, small businesses and as an employee in the health sector. She is skilled in ergonomics analysis, facility design, workplace assessments, hazard identification, equipment evaluation, developing and implementing manual handling programmes, workplace education and training. Her special interest and expertise is in manual handling of both objects and people.

Sue is an accomplished speaker and has presented at over 15 conferences and seminars both nationally and internationally. As an active member of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of New Zealand, Sue has served on the national committee, been Convenor and Board member of the Board for Certification of Ergonomists, been a regional coordinator and served on conference organising committees. Sue participates in peer support and professional development forums.





Professional Affiliations

Post-Graduate Diploma in Ergonomics 
Massey University, 2002

Advanced Diploma in Physiotherapy – Orthopaedic Manual Therapy 
Auckland Technical Institute, 1989

Certificate in Teaching Skills for Health Professionals 
Canterbury Hospital Board, Christchurch College of Education and Christchurch Polytechnic, 1987


Professional Member Associate Human Factors and Ergonomics Society NZ

Member of Physiotherapy New Zealand

Member Moving and Handling Association NZ

Member NZ Institute of Safety Management

Other professional activities


Invited trainer for the ACC Discomfort, Pain and Injury Programme (2006) and previously Recognised Advisor for the prevention programmes for Occupational Overuse Syndrome, Serious Back Injury and Acute Low Back Pain.

Peer reviewer of the NZ Patient Handling Guidelines (2003)

Review panel for NZQA Unit Standard 5012 ‘Demonstrate musculoskeletal care and handle people safely in a health or disability setting’ for Careerforce (2012)


Sue received Scion Award for Best Presentation
NZES conference 2010



Some key achievements during 16 years employment within the Health and Safety Team for the Canterbury District Health Board:

  • Developing, coordinating and delivering a comprehensive safe handling training programme for the Older Persons Health Service that was used as the model for the rest of the organisation comprising 9,000 staff.
  • Working with the site redevelopment team to determine bedroom design for ceiling tracking in a new 22-bed unit; detailed advice on toilet/bathroom areas and office/reception spaces at The Princess Margaret Hospital.
  • Contributing to projects such as the National Oral Health Facility Design recommending the standard dental clinic layout; DHB National Tender for Office Furniture purchasing; evaluating and selecting preferred suppliers for patient lifting equipment, analysis of surgical crate handling for Peri-Operative Nurses College of NZ Nurses’ Organisation.
  • Recommending cost-effective improvements to the layout and flow and/or reducing manual handling risks in a wide range of departments.


"I was particularly impressed at how quickly Sue gained an understanding of our processes, therefore being able to make qualified assessments of possible improvements. The professional nature of her initial presentation and follow up sessions assured the full attention and confidence of our staff."
Manager, Wood Products Manufacturer 


"The assessment was great. I feel confident now that I'm doing everything I can at my desk to minimise discomfort."
Sales and Marketing Administrator


 "I spent an enjoyable morning being instructed in handling and moving patients by Sue Alexander. I left having learnt some valuable principles and extremely useful techniques. We were fortunate having Sue provide us with such a skilled service to improve patient care and care for ourselves. I would encourage anyone who has the opportunity to take up the option of her training sessions."
Consultant Physician, The Princess Margaret Hospital


"Sue’s friendly and professional manner in the programme delivery was well received and enjoyed by management and staff. I would have no hesitation in recommending Sue to any prospective client."
Manufacturing Manager


"We found Sue’s ability to accurately pinpoint potential problems with staff at their individual workstations to be an invaluable exercise and recommendations laid down by Sue have now been put in place."
Support Services Manager, Attorney Office