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What is Ergonomics?

Updated on January 18, 2010

Are you fed up of working on broken chairs and improperly organized computer workstations? Yes, then this article is for you. Read this. Do you know if you have found that your workstation at your workplace is not properly organized, you can talk to your employer and insurance company and can get ergonomic evaluation of your workstation completed and modify your workstation according to your needs and comfort. Now read what is ergonomics definition. According to me from what I have understood, ergonomics is defined as a body of knowledge about human abilities, limitations, and characteristics that are relevant to the design. The ergonomic design is the application of this knowledge for the design of tools, systems, machines, tasks, jobs and safe environments that are comfortable and provide effective use of human power without exploiting them. The term Ergonomics is obtained from Greek word ergos, which means work, and nomos, which means natural law or knowledge or study. Ergonomics has two main branches: One branch of ergonomics concerns to industrial ergonomics and occupational biomechanics, which focuses on the physical aspects of labor and human capabilities such as force, repetitions, and posture, and other branch of ergonomics concerns to a second discipline which is sometimes referred as "human factors", which is oriented to the psychological aspects of work and the mental workload and decision making process. The scope of ergonomics is very broad and it falls within various professions and academic careers such as engineering, physical therapy, industrial hygiene, occupational therapy, nursing, chiropractics, occupational medicine, and sometimes specialty ergonomics. Also, the ergonomics training is provided through courses, seminars, and conferences to many students around the world.

Use of ergonomics to improve condition of employees at workplace.
Use of ergonomics to improve condition of employees at workplace.

General objectives of ergonomics

The following points are among the general objectives of ergonomics and help employers and organizations and industries in:

  1. Reduction of occupational injuries and illnesses.
  2. Decreasing the disability costs for workers.
  3. Increasing productivity.
  4. Improving the quality of work.
  5. Lowering absenteeism.
  6. Applying existing rules.
  7. Decreasing the loss of raw material.

The methods by which we obtain general objectives of ergonomics are:

  1. Analysis and appreciation of risks in the workplace.
  2. Identification and quantification of risk conditions in the workplace.
  3. Recommendation of engineering and administrative controls to reduce risk conditions that are identified.
  4. Through providing education to supervisors and workers about the hazardous conditions at workplace and providing workplace safety.

Most occupational injuries are a result of using poor ergonomics at work. You need a workstation modification.
Most occupational injuries are a result of using poor ergonomics at work. You need a workstation modification.

What is industrial ergonomics?

The industrial ergonomics is not so new field of knowledge that is involved in the production field and is relatively new in many developing countries again due to the little knowledge of ergonomics and its implementation, but industrial ergonomics has been developed and applied in some large corporate in different developed countries of the world and has been becoming successful to meet its goals. Also, knowledge of industrial ergonomics is being spread all over the world through conferences on ergonomics, meetings, and ergonomics courses that are in high demand nowadays.

Use of industrial ergonomics has not only benefited employees or workers but has also benefited several organizations, especially industries which required manual labor in the world.
Use of industrial ergonomics has not only benefited employees or workers but has also benefited several organizations, especially industries which required manual labor in the world.

As it is really difficult to give full details of ergonomics in such a short time and space, I hope this article will help answer some of your questions on ergonomics and stimulate interest in ergonomics.

Applying health work solutions and ergonomics can help prevent many occupational injuries from happening in the future because prevention is the best cure.
Applying health work solutions and ergonomics can help prevent many occupational injuries from happening in the future because prevention is the best cure.

This was a general overview of ergonomics, which I have described above. In my upcoming hubs, I will discuss about overview of ergonomic practice and method and techniques in ergonomics applied to provide benefits to the employees and supervisors. Also, I will discuss how applying ergonomics to the workforce in any organization or industry can help in reduction of occupational injuries or illnesses to the employees, decrease the disability costs for workers, and lowering absenteeism thereby increasing productivity and quality of work done resulting in improved quality of life for all workers and the company itself.

Desk ergonomics
Desk ergonomics
Art of using proper ergonomics - Some instructions.
Art of using proper ergonomics - Some instructions.

Comments

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    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for your appreciation pratoocool.

    • pratoocool profile image

      Neha 

      4 years ago

      Thanks for a such an information hub. I was always looking for the ways to relieve my back pain and neck stiffness after long time of work on my computer. But this is really amazing information which i think will help me out a lot.

    • profile image

      leepask 

      6 years ago

      Not only are people not aware of the problems and potential implications for long term injuries, often there are simple fixes that can reduce the risk from awkward postures. For example, I have come across so many people who over-reach for items on their desk. Telephones, in-trays, pen holders, a mouse and other items are often kept out of reach to create a neat or more "roomey" desk top - however, a simple control can include moving items that are used more often (such as a mouse) within reach so workers do not assume awkward postures.

      With the increasing number of people working at home, I think it would be interesting for someone with your indepth knowledge to write a hub for controlling ergonomic risks for the home-office. What do you think?

    • profile image

      Dito 

      6 years ago from Indonesia

      I love ergonomics :)

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I will try to write a hub on that topic. Thanks a lot Ebencowas for your information.

    • profile image

      Ebencowas 

      8 years ago

      The implication of ergonomics in relation to production management

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Yes Shinkicker, I agree with you that poor ergonomics can inflict a lot of long term and short term wear and tear such as repetitive strain and sprain injuries on our body and it is the right time to get an ergonomic evaluation of a workstation and getting rid of these problems.

    • Shinkicker profile image

      Shinkicker 

      8 years ago from Scotland

      Interesting Hub soni2006, many workers don't realise the long term wear and tear that poor ergonomic conditions can inflict.

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Yes, that's correct LensMan999. Thanks for your additional info.

    • LensMan999 profile image

      LensMan999 

      8 years ago from Trans-Neptunian region

      Now all management experts are trying to manage and control the workplace design and work flow design for proper ergonomics (production /operation management

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      That's really true Veronica. The condition of manual labor and working staff is worse in developing countries. Employers use their staff under horrible working conditions and to such an extent with overtime and many more things that they die before their age due to family responsibilities and workplace conditions and obligations. So it becomes really important to introduce a system like ergonomics which will not only help workers do a great and healthy job but will result lowering occupational injuries and illnesses to unhygienic condition at the workplaces.

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      This is so important if we are required to do our jobs, yet be comfortable at the same time. We should be able to work without putting undue stress on our bodies.

    working

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