Human Factors and ergonomics: A vital element of any work environment

human factors and ergonomics

In simple words, the Ergonomics refers to finding the right fit between the human beings and the entire ecosystem of their present or regular activities including surroundings, specific activities, and products used to accomplish them. The objective of ergonomics in the workplace is to adjust this entire ‘activity ecosystem” to minimize the stress, add more comfort and allow people to work in a faster, better manner with increased accuracy.

Introduction

What does ergonomics mean? – the term ergonomic is a derivative of Ergon and Nomos- the Greek words meaning work and laws respectively! So, we can call it the disciplined science that is based on the specific parameters that play a key role in any specific activity.

  • Physical Ergonomics that optimizes the environment according to various physical characteristics and the role they play in the physical activity.
  • Cognitive ergonomics consider mental processes like motor skills, reasoning, memory etc. and how do they impact the activities in which an individual is involved.
  • Organizational ergonomics is associated with various social and technical elements that play a determining role in allowing a person to work comfortably in their environment.
  • Human engineering refers to evaluating the compatibility of tools and other important accessories that play a direct or indirect role in determining the overall working capability of a worker. The objective is to optimize these key elements in order to enhance performance quality of workers, increase accuracy and speed, and minimizing fatigue while ensuring maximum safety of the workers.

what is human factors and ergonomics?

what is human factors and ergonomics
Source: The Fabricator

Ergonomics VS Human factors

One of the major difference between human factors and ergonomics is that while the ergonomics is concerned with the physical aspects of the working environment like the design of furniture or placement of specific tools the human factor generally concentrates on the psychological factors like how the human interactions with their work environment affect their feeling or behavior. However, these slight differences are generally disputed and it is not uncommon to find many people using these two terms interchangeably.

Human factors and ergonomics in different field

With the right use of Human factors and ergonomicsany specific ecosystem can be optimized for aligning it perfectly with the capabilities and limitations of the individual in order to minimize latency, boosting productivity and maximizing RoI of investment (efforts, time etc.) while at the same time ensuring the overall well being of the individual.

The Human factors and ergonomics play an important role in different sectors like healthcare, consumer products, manufacturing, and other industries.

human factors and ergonomics in manufacturing & service industries
Source: ABB (Human factors and ergonomics in manufacturing & service industries)
  • The consumer products play an important role in optimizing the worker performance and allowing them to deliver quality performance. For example, some workers with limited movements or musculoskeletal issues would need specifically designed chairs to support their backs, facilitating arm and legs movements and writing, typing, and various other jobs. Likewise, the tables compute system, and other vital tools also need to be designed specifically to accommodate the people with, movement limitations.
  • Apart from the specific disorders the physical specifications also play an important role in the working environment of a person. Very tall or short people generally find it difficult to use the furniture meant for masses- making them fit for the people with average height. However, over a period of time, they adjust or rather limit their movements to reduce inconvenience. Collectively such limitations affect their overall capabilities and delivery performance. However, if they are provided with the furniture that perfectly fit their requirements and allows them to work conveniently.
  • The healthcare industry is another field where the Human factors and ergonomics can play an important role. There are diverse physical movements and coordination of motoring skills that work together to shape the overall performance of healthcare professionals. In fact, it is very critical to ensure that the entire work ecosystem of the healthcare professional is perfectly designed to suit the limitations end capably soft an individual. The specific tools like chairs, lighting, fixtures and other clinical tools need to be adjusted in order to allow the healthcare professional to carry their jobs conveniently and most efficiently.

Conclusion

Whether it is corporate sector or healthcare industry the Human factors and ergonomics play a definite role in determining the overall performance of an individual. So it is extremely important to make ergonomics a vital part of designing the work environment in order to boost the productivity of the workers.

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