Office Ergonomics

Topics: Ergonomics, HVAC, Occupational safety and health Pages: 9 (2520 words) Published: October 4, 2011
ERGONOMICS: Ergonomics is the science 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.[1]

The International Ergonomics Association defines ergonomics as follows:[2] 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. Ergonomics is employed to fulfill the two goals of health and productivity. It is relevant in the design of such things as safe furniture and easy-to-use interfaces to machines .( Ergonomics: the science of designing the job, equipment, and workplace to fit the worker.}

Ergonomics in the workplace:
Outside of the discipline itself, the term 'ergonomics' is generally used to refer to physical ergonomics as it relates to the workplace (as in for example ergonomic chairs and keyboards). Ergonomics in the workplace has to do largely with the safety of employees, both long and short-term. Ergonomics can help reduce costs by improving safety. This would decrease the money paid out in workers’ compensation. For example, over five million workers sustain overextension injuries per year. Through ergonomics, workplaces can be designed so that workers do not have to overextend themselves and the manufacturing industry could save billions in workers’ compensation.

Workplaces may either take the reactive or proactive approach when applying ergonomics practices. Reactive ergonomics is when something needs to be fixed, and corrective action is taken. Proactive ergonomics is the process of seeking areas that could be improved and fixing the issues before they become a large problem. Problems may be fixed through equipment design, task design, or environmental design. Equipment design changes the actual, physical devices used by people. Task design changes what people do with the equipment. Environmental design changes the environment in which people work, but not the physical equipment they use

How Ergonomics Helps in the Office Environment:
It might seem that people who work in an office setting are less prone to injury than those who perform hard manual labor. But if office workers don't understand and implement the principles of ergonomics, their desk chairs, monitors and keyboards can become as dangerous as improperly used power tools--though the injuries may not be as immediately obvious. Definition

The National Institutes of Health defines ergonomics as the "science of fitting the jobs to the workers." The work environment--including office furniture and equipment, lighting, decor and many other elements--combined with the tasks performed in that environment have a cumulative effect on employees' overall health and morale. This, in turn, has an impact on the bottom line of the business. Types

Physical ergonomics in the workplace relates to the way work affects the body, including posture, repetitive movements and eyestrain caused by staring at a monitor. Cognitive ergonomics concerns stress, decision making, the mental and psychological effects of using a computer, and other psychological and mental factors of work. Organization ergonomics involves the interpersonal relationships within the company and how the company's policies affect its workers. Health

If office workers sit improperly or perform repetitive tasks, like typing, without proper ergonomics, they may--over time--develop musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and back injury. According to the NIH, 64 percent of all musculoskeletal disorders in 2007 were the result of office work. Moreover, the...
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