What Do You Understand by Ergonomics?

The word ergonomic or human engineering is the study of the interaction between individuals, machines or appliances in their environment that can affect their performance and productivity. The International Ergonomics Association has adopted this technical 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.

The purpose of Ergonomic is to assess the interaction, or relationship between each component for determining optimum improvement in performance. Ergonomic therefore examines the relationship between three elements: the individual, the equipment, the environment and how they can be improved. Ergonomics focuses on human beings and their interaction with products, equipment facilities and environments used in the work.

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Ergonomics seeks to change the things people use and the environment in which they use the things to match in a better way the capabilities, limitations and needs of people. Human engineering (ergonomics) has two broader objectives: •To enhance the efficiency and effectiveness with which the activities (work) is carried out so as to increase the convenience of use, reduced errors and increase in productivity. To enhance certain desirable human values including safety reduced stress and fatigue and improved quality of life. Thus, in general the scope and objective of ergonomics is “designing for human use and optimizing working and living conditions”. Thus human factors (ergonomics) discover and apply information about human behaviour. Abilities and limitations and other characteristics to the design of tools, machines, systems, tasks, jobs and environment for productive, safe, comfortable and effective human use.

Ergonomics aims at providing comfort and improved working conditions so as to channelize the energy, skills of the workers into constructive productive work. This accounts for increased productivity, safety and reduces the fatigue. This helps to increase the plant utilisation. In the quest to minimize direct and indirect production cost, the production manager implements appropriate ergonomics Direct costs are those directly associated with the claim and include: •Medical treatment Prescription costs •Insurance premiums Indirect costs associated with the injury can include: •Overtime due to staff coverage during absence of injured worker •Accommodation for modified duty •Increased absenteeism •Decreased morale •Legal and investigation costs •Presenteeism: when an employee comes back to work too early and is less productive than in a healthy state •Replacement worker costs •Advertising and recruiting if employee doesn’t return to work •Orientation and training costs

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