The Evolution of Man
Why do some car seats leave you aching after a long journey? Why do some computer workstations confer eyestrain and muscle fatigue? Such human irritations and inconveniences are not inevitable – ergonomics is an approach which puts human needs and capabilities at the focus of designing technological systems. The aim is to ensure that humans and technology work in complete harmony, with the equipment and tasks aligned to human characteristics.
Ergonomics has a wide application to everyday domestic situations, but there are even more significant implications for efficiency, productivity, safety and health in work settings.
- Designing equipment and work arrangements to improve working posture and ease the load on the body, thus reducing instances of Repetitive Strain Injury/Work Related Upper Limb Disorder
- Information design, to make the interpretation and use of handbooks, signs, and displays easier and less error-prone
- Design of training arrangements to cover all significant aspects of the job concerned and to take account of human learning requirements
- Designing working environments, including lighting and heating, to suit the needs of the users and the tasks performed. Where necessary, design of personal protective equipment for work and hostile environments
The multi-disciplinary nature of ergonomics, also called ‘Human Factors’, is immediately obvious. The overall aim is to ensure that knowledge of human characteristics is brought to bear on practical problems of people at work and in leisure. It is known that, in many cases, humans can adapt to unsuitable conditions, but such adaptation leads often to inefficiency, errors, unacceptable stress, and physical or mental cost.