The International Ergonomics Association (IEA) has the following definition “Ergonomics (or human factors) 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.”
What does it mean for you?
- It means we need to look at the whole system (your tools, the materials that you handle frequently, your work schedule and work flow) to help make sure there is a match between the job demands and the abilities of the workforce.
- Good work design reduces musculoskeletal injury (MSI), errors, and enhances productivity.
- Good work design also ensures anyone (large or small) can do the job without increased risk of injury.
- Making sure that your work fits you well (environmental changes) is important but it is just as important to make sure you use your tools and body properly (behavioral changes)!