Ergonomics

Original Editor - Kim Jackson

Top Contributors - Chelsea Mclene and Lucinda hampton  

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Ergonomics is the study of people in their workplace and is the process in which workplaces, products and systems are designed or rearranged so that they fit the people who use them. It aims to improve workspaces and environments to reduce the risk of injury.

International Ergonomics Association definition: “Ergonomics is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.” [1]

Ergonomics is a science-based discipline. It brings together knowledge from anatomy and physiology, psychology, engineering and statistics and ensures that the designs complement the strengths and abilities of people who use it.[2]

Ergonomics Process:

  • Assess Risks
  • Plan Improvements
  • Measure Progress
  • Scale Solutions

[3]

Why is Ergonomics important?[edit | edit source]

  • In workplace, when body is stressed by an awkward posture, extreme temperature, or repeated movement, the musculoskeletal system can be affected. Hence ergonomics play major role in reducing these work related injuries or illness like computer vision syndrome, neck and back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome etc.
  • To create safe, comfortable and productive workspaces by bringing human abilities and limitations into the design of a workspace, which includes the individual’s body size, strength, skill, speed, sensory abilities and attitudes.
  • To make employees more comfortable and increase productivity.[4][5]

How does Ergonomics work?[edit | edit source]

Data and information are collected from various disciplines and is used to design an equipment, modify or rearrange them in a way that it benefits people using them and helps to reduce the risk injuries that can happen.[6]

  • Anthropometry: body sizes, shapes; populations and variations
  • Biomechanics: muscles, levers, forces, strength
  • Environmental physics: noise, light, heat, cold, radiation, vibration body systems: hearing, vision, sensations
  • Applied psychology: skill, learning, errors, differences
  • Social psychology: groups, communication, learning, behaviors.
  • Mechanical and industrial engineering
  • Industrial design
  • Information design
  • Kinesiology
  • Physiology

Ergonomics Domains of Specialization[edit | edit source]

According to the International Ergonomics Association, there are three broad domains of ergonomics[7]:

  • Physical
  • Cognitive
  • Organizational
Computer Workstation Variables cleanup.png

Physical Ergonomics[edit | edit source]

Physical ergonomics is very much focused on workplace ergonomics and takes human anatomical, anthropometric, physiological and biomechanical characteristics into consideration. It is all about building better working place with jobs designed to match capabilities of people resulting in better working experience. It is an approach or solution to deal with a number of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.[8][9]

Cognitive Ergonomics[edit | edit source]

Cognitive ergonomics is concerned with mental processes, such as perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response, as they affect interactions among humans. It is the field of study that focuses on how well the use of a product matches the cognitive capabilities of users.[10][11][12]

Organizational Ergonomics[edit | edit source]

Organizational ergonomics refers to the optimization of social technical systems, including their organizational structures, policies and processes. It includes team work, job shifts, work satisfaction, schedules and ethics.[13][14]

Benefits of Ergonomics[edit | edit source]

  1. Reduced risk of work related injuries and illness[15]
  2. Higher productivity[16]
  3. Improved health
  4. Improved mental insight
  5. Better product quality
  6. Decreased pain
  7. Happy employee
  8. Improved employee engagement
  9. Better safety culture[17]

Further Reading[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Dul J, Bruder R, Buckle P, Carayon P, Falzon P, Marras WS, Wilson JR, van der Doelen B. A strategy for human factors/ergonomics: developing the discipline and profession. Ergonomics. 2012 Apr 1;55(4):377-95.
  2. Bridger R. Introduction to ergonomics. Crc Press; 2008 Jun 26.
  3. MisterRolls. Ergonomics and design. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAKlmdMHpdE [last accessed 24/4/2021]
  4. Wilson JR. Fundamentals of ergonomics in theory and practice. Applied ergonomics. 2000 Dec 1;31(6):557-67.
  5. Dul J, Neumann WP. Ergonomics contributions to company strategies. Applied ergonomics. 2009 Jul 1;40(4):745-52.
  6. Pheasant S. Ergonomics, work and health. Macmillan International Higher Education; 1991 Oct 31.
  7. Burov O. Human factors/ergonomics in eWorld: methodology, techniques and applications. InInternational Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics 2019 Jul 24 (pp. 459-464). Springer, Cham.
  8. Harris C, Straker L. Survey of physical ergonomics issues associated with school childrens’ use of laptop computers. International journal of industrial ergonomics. 2000 Sep 1;26(3):337-46.
  9. Nichols S. Physical ergonomics of virtual environment use. Applied Ergonomics. 1999 Feb 1;30(1):79-90.
  10. Hollnagel E. Cognitive ergonomics: it's all in the mind. Ergonomics. 1997 Oct 1;40(10):1170-82.
  11. Long J, Whitefield A, editors. Cognitive ergonomics and human-computer interaction. Cambridge University Press; 1989 Jun 15.
  12. Jørgensen AH. Thinking-aloud in user interface design: a method promoting cognitive ergonomics. Ergonomics. 1990 Apr 1;33(4):501-7.
  13. Hendrick HW. Ergonomics in organizational design and management. Ergonomics. 1991 Jun 1;34(6):743-56.
  14. Duffy VG. The impact of organizational ergonomics on work effectiveness: with special reference to concurrent engineering in manufacturing industries. Ergonomics. 1999 Apr 1;42(4):614-37.
  15. Hendrick HW. Determining the cost–benefits of ergonomics projects and factors that lead to their success. Applied ergonomics. 2003 Sep 1;34(5):419-27.
  16. Goggins RW, Spielholz P, Nothstein GL. Estimating the effectiveness of ergonomics interventions through case studies: Implications for predictive cost-benefit analysis. Journal of Safety Research. 2008 Jan 1;39(3):339-44.
  17. Zare M, Croq M, Hossein‐Arabi F, Brunet R, Roquelaure Y. Does ergonomics improve product quality and reduce costs? A review article. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries. 2016 Mar;26(2):205-23.