The term comes from the Greek words
‘ergon’ which means work and ‘nomos’ which stands for natural laws. In other words, it is a science of designing or projecting environment, workplace, room and or furniture and tools inside these places the way so
that they fit users' necessities. A proper design prevents overuse
or repetitive strain injuries, medical issues that can develop if left
untreated, leading to different disabilities.
In order to fulfill the main goals of
ergonomics, one should understand the principles on which are based all
the interactions among humans and machines, furniture or other elements
of these systems. However, the purpose is not only to understand these
laws, but also to be able to apply them and to obtain easy and safe to
Before giving an answer, let’s take a
closer look to the different types or categories of it. First
comes its physical aspect, which studies human anatomy, physiological
and bio-mechanical characteristics of the human body, in order to create
equipments and tools which fit with these specific properties.
Cognitive component is another branch of this science, concerned with
mental processes (memory, perception, motor response) that affect the
interactions among the human body and all the parts of the environment
or system in which the individual lives and works. Last but not the
least, organizational element aims to optimize socio-technical
systems, by changing their organizational structures, policies and
processes. In other words, this type concerns the design
of working times, the teamwork and resources management, quality
management and communication between employers and employees.
As you can see, there are several aspects
that need to be considered when designing an environment. And for this, one needs to have serious knowledge of biomechanics and
mechanical engineering, industrial design, anthropometry, kinesiology,
physiology and even psychology.
This branch of the science aims to
provide the comfort and safety of employees in the workplace. It
is used to design better furniture, such as work desks or chairs, and
to improve the areas of the room that aren’t used properly. These goals
are achieved by equipment and task design, but sometimes they only
increase the quality of the environment and not the psychical comfort of
the users or employees.
Psychical and physical ergonomics
As mentioned before, this science studies
the relationships between people and machines and tries to improve
them. This is done not only by redesigning the equipments but also by
teaching people how to use the existing tools and machines, how to avoid
work habits which can create excessive stress and how to reduce the
muscular pain which occurs due to inappropriate postures.
This science looks at the work you do, it
evaluates the tools and the environment and finds the best fit between
what you’re doing and your job conditions. All the principles and
knowledge involved by ergonomics are applied to increase your comfort
and safety, to reduce the risk of work related injuries and to transform
your workplace into a friendly one.