What is Ergonomics? Meaning, Definition, Feature, Importance, Types

Ergonomics is the study and practice of creating employment or workplaces that are matched to the human body’s capabilities and limits. Today in this article we have discussed what is Ergonomics, its meaning, definitions, feature, objective, importance, and types.

► What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is the process of designing the job equipment and workplace to fit the worker proper ergonomic design is necessary to prevent repetitive strain injuries, which can develop over time and can lead to long-term disability.

◉ Ergonomics Meaning

Ergonomics simply means the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment.

  • Ergonomics is derived from the Greek words; Ergon and Nomoi
  • Ergon means work and nomoi meaning natural laws,
  • to create a word that means the science of work and a person’s relationship to that work environment.
  • Ergonomic is a way to work smarter and not harder.

Definition of Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of the relationship between the employee and the workplace.

It is a developing body of knowledge whose goal is to provide and maintain a healthy “user-friendly” environment. Properly applied, ergonomic principles support applied, ergonomic principles support each person’s desire to find a zone of individual comfort.

  • Ergonomics can be defined as the study of workers’ interaction with their working environment.
  • In other words, Ergonomics is an applied science that deals with designing and arranging things workers use so that the worker and things interact most efficiently and safely.

► Objectives of Ergonomics

The purpose and objectives of ergonomics are listed below:

  • Increase Work Efficiency and overall Productivity
  • Make integration between Manpower and Machinery
  • Decrease Physical Workload and Mental Stress
  • Reduce the risk of injury and accidents
  • To improve the Design of Machinery at the starting phase
  • Better Quality of Life
  • Avoid Industrial Error and Mistakes

let’s discuss a few objectives of Ergonomics in more detail.

1. To advance the integration of manpower and machinery for increasing productivity with accuracy.

It involves the designing of:

  • (a) A suitable work environment for workers.
  • (b) Machines and controls that reduce mental and physical strain on workers, and allow them to increase efficiency.
  • (c) A favorable environment for enacting the task most effectively and efficiently.
  • (d) Task and work of the organization.

2. To evaluate the aspects that influence physical and mental strain (e.g., weariness) in order to maximize worker happiness while increasing productivity.

3. Attempts to reduce the risk of injury, illness, accidents, and mistakes while maintaining productivity.

4. To improve the design of machinery at the starting phase or later whenever the existing product or process is modified.

► Feature / Characteristics of Ergonomics

  • It is implemented as part of an extensive approach.
  • It is managed as a constant improvement process.
  • Provide support and resources that the organization needs to succeed.
  • It directs with technology to drive maximum Output.
  • Engages the organization both ways from top-bottom and bottom-up.

► Importance of Ergonomics

  • It is essential to prevent injuries
  • To increase the productivity of the employees
  • Better Morale and Job satisfaction
  • It reduces worker compensation claims
  • It saves a lot of time
  • Cost Saving in long term
  • For the health and safty of the workers

Ergonomics is critical for keeping personnel safe and healthy so that they can carry out their duties.

The purpose of applying ergonomics is to increase productivity and comfort so that organizations can continue to expand and flourish. we create long-term, cost-effective initiatives that enable this to happen.

Employees in a variety of sectors and vocations are exposed to a variety of health risks in the workplace. These criteria include things like:

  • Reaching overhead.
  • Lifting heavy objects.
  • Pushing and pulling heavy stuff.
  • Wrong body postures.

These activities, when performed poorly, have an adverse effect on the neurological and muscular systems, resulting in Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs).

Work-related MSDs are one of the most often documented causes of job loss and absence. Workplace ergonomics, on the other hand, can help reduce rotator cuff injuries, tendinitis, muscular strains, and back ailments.

► 10 Principles of Ergonomics

  1. Work in Neutral Postures
  2. Reduce Excessive Force
  3. Keep Everything in Easy Reach
  4. Work at Proper Heights
  5. Reduce Excessive Motions
  6. Minimize Fatigue and Static Load
  7. Minimize PRessure Points
  8. Provide Clearance Move
  9. Exercise and Stretch
  10. Maintain a Comfortable Environment

Now let’s discuss all these principles in detail one by one.

1. Work in Neutral Postures

Working in a Neutral posture provides a good starting point for evaluating the tasks that workers do. The best working positions are those that keep the human body neutrally aligned.

  • It is scientifically proven that maintaining the “S-curve” of the back (spinal cord) is ideal for the human body whether sitting or standing position.
  • The reason behind it is the spinal column is naturally shaped more or less like the shape of the letter “S”. Shape “S” in the lower back simply means that it is good to keep a slight “sway back.
  • In a standing position, put one foot up on a footrest to keep the spinal cord in proper alignment. It is essential that all workers follow this principle because it prevents workers from back injuries.
  • Working for long hours sitting on a chair with your back in C-curve can put a strain on your back. A backrest in the chair can fix this posture and comfort your back.
  • An inverted V-curve is even more dangerous for your back. It occurs when workers lift something and bend over like this can put high pressure on the spine. lifting and tilting machines can fix this.
  • Always keep your Neck aligned while working and Elbows at the sides with support like armchair support.

2. Reduce Excessive Force

  • Pulling a heavy consignment or carton box may put an excessive amount of force on your back.
  • To fix this make sure the floor is smooth and for heavy shifting, you may use the trolley or cart. It makes motion easy and reduces the strain on your body.

3. Keep Everything in Easy Reach

“Reach Envelop” is a technique used to make this principle easy to follow. In this technique, a semi-circle design is used on the working area.

  • This helps workers to reach the maximum area by using full stretched arms. It saves a lot of time.
  • The motive behind this method is to increase the reach of the workers to the frequently used items.
  • Here everything will be within the reach envelope of the forearms of the workers.

4. Work at Proper Heights

  • Sitting height must be adjusted to the working table according to the elbow height of the workers.
  • If workers are working in a standing position then the working surface must raise to the waist level.

5. Reduce Excessive Motions

  • The organization must provide powerful tools for motion activities so that manual repetition can be reduced to a minimum.
  • Excessive motion can be reduced by fixing the layout of equipment and machines.

6. Minimize Fatigue and Static Load

Static load refers to the situation where workers hold something for the same position for a period of time.

  • In the Manufacturing workplace, workers often hold tools and equipment continually for a longer period of time.
  • If someone holds their arms overhead for a few minutes is another suitable example of static load, this affects the shoulder muscles.
  • To prevent static load and fatigue, making changes in the orientation of the work area may help.

7. Minimize Pressure Points

Putting stress on Pressure Points can lead to a situation called contact stress.

  • For example, if you squeeze hard onto a tool like a pair of pliers. It will hurt your pressure points.
  • To minimize the pressure points, workers can use cushioned grip and contour the handles which fit their hands.

8. Provide Clearance Move

Working areas need to be set up in such a way so there is sufficient room for workers’ heads, knees, and feet.

  • When there is not enough space for knees or feet then workers have to work in contorted postures.
  • When there is good space in their working area then it also prevents them from bumping into things all the time.

9. Exercise and Stretch

Exercise and stretching are the basic need of the human body to stay healthy and fit.

  • These exercises and stretching depend upon the type of work you do.
  • If someone does a physically demanding job the warmup before the activity may help.
  • If the work is a completely sitting job then the small energy breaks are useful to do stretching.

10. Maintain a Comfortable Environment

Working conditions such as lighting, glare, ventilation, and room temperature are the major factors in the working environment.

  • Make sure the lighting is optimized according to the working condition, especially in a computerized office.
  • The bad placing of lighting or computer system can hamper the working experience. The computer screen may reflect every stray bit of light around.

To eliminate lighting problems, the Use of task lighting may help. It is a small light right in your workspace that can be oriented and adjusted to fit as per need.

Must Read :What is Total Quality Management? (TQM)

► Advantages of Ergonomics (Benefits)

Ergonomics is a beneficial component for the company or an organization. Some benefits of Ergonomics are as follows:

  • Reduces cost.
  • Improves productivity.
  • Improves quality.
  • Increase employee engagement.
  • Creates better safety culture.

► Component of Ergonomics

There are three components of ergonomics that are listed below;

  1. Physical
  2. Cognitive
  3. Organizational

Each of these contributes not only to organizational success but also to employee satisfaction and the bottom line of the organization.

◉ 1. Physical

For good reason, physical ergonomics is the most well-known type of ergonomics. It is concerned with the physical strain placed on the human body when participating in activities.

Physical ergonomics and how to incorporate it have a significant impact on on-site safety.

◉ 2. Cognitive

The approach of creating and arranging information and data to provide a light cognitive burden is known as cognitive ergonomics.

Perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response all affect how someone deals with it and performs their work. A larger cognitive workload puts the worker under additional stress.

◉ 3. Organizational

Organizational ergonomics brings together knowledge from various areas of the industry, such as physical and cognitive ergonomics, to improve overall safety and efficiency.

► Example of Ergonomic

  1. Material for assembly operations should be put in such a way that the worker’s strongest muscles accomplish most of the work.
  2. The workbench should be lower for detailed work that requires careful observation of the materials than for heavy work. Discomfort or injury-causing hand tools should be changed or replaced.
  3. Workers are frequently the finest source of suggestions for how to improve a tool to make it more user-friendly. Pliers, for example, can be straight or bent depending on the situation.
  4. A task should not demand workers to remain in awkward positions for long periods of time, such as reaching, bending, or hunching over.
  5. Proper lifting procedures must be taught to employees. A well-designed work should reduce the amount of time you spend on it.
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