ergonomics

Topics: Carpal tunnel syndrome, Repetitive strain injury, Ergonomics Pages: 13 (2682 words) Published: May 13, 2015
INTRODUCTION

The word "Ergonomics" comes from two Greek words "ergon," meaning work, and "nomos" meaning "laws." Today, however, the word is used to describe the science of "designing the job to fit the worker, not forcing the worker to fit the job." Ergonomics covers all aspects of a job, from the physical stresses it places on joints, muscles, nerves, tendons, bones and the like, to environmental factorswhich can effect hearing, vision, and general comfort and health. Ergonomics is about designing for people, wherever they interact with products, systems or processes. We usually don’t notice good design (unless perhaps, it’s exceptional) because it gives us no cause to, but we do notice poor design. The emphasis within ergonomics is to ensure that designs complement the strengths and abilities of people and minimise the effects of their limitations, rather than forcing them to adapt. In achieving this aim, it becomes necessary to understand and design for the variability represented in the population, spanning such attributes as age, size, strength, cognitive ability, prior experience, cultural expectations and goals. Qualified ergonomists are the only recognised professionals to have competency in optimising performance, safety and comfort. Practitioners study how people interact with products, processes and environments day to day in order to improve them, to make them easier to use, safer, more comfortable, more efficient. They take into account and apply relevant research to help with this and to suggest recommendations. But none of this can happen without a thorough knowledge and understanding of the users and their experiences. CONTENT

Repetitive Strain Injuries occur from repeated physical movements doing damage to tendons, nerves, muscles, and other soft body tissues. Occupations ranging from meatpackers to musicians have characteristic RSIs that can result from the typical tasks they perform. The rise of computer use and flat, light-touch keyboards that permit high speed typing have resulted in an epidemic of injuries of the hands, arms, and shoulders. Use of pointing devices like mouse and trackballs are as much a cause, if not more so. The thousands of repeated keystrokes and long periods of clutching and dragging with mice slowly accumulates damage to the body : another name for the condition is Cumulative Trauma Disorder. This can happen even more quickly as a result of typing technique and body positions that place unnecessary stress on the tendons and nerves in the hand, wrist, arms, and even the shoulders and neck. Lack of adequate rest and breaks and using excessive force almost guarantee trouble. You may wonder how activities such as typing and clicking a mouse button could possibly be harmful. Fine hand movements, repeated hour after hour, day after day, thousands upon thousands of times, eventually strain the muscles and tendons of the forearms, wrists, and fingers, causing microscopic tears. Injured muscles tend to contract, decreasing the range of motion necessary for stress free work.

The sheaths that cover delicate tendons run out of lubrication because they aren't given time to rest, so tendon and sheath chafe, resulting in pain. Due to this abrasion, tendons become inflamed, and begin to pinch neighboring nerves. This can result in numbness, tingling, or hypersensitivity to touch. Unless this cycle is interrupted, it repeats itself over and over, and a long-term, chronic problem results. CAUSES

Repetitive strain injury can affect more than just your hands and wrists. Poor posture can lead to severe neck and back injuries. Staring at a computer screen can lead to eye strain. Repetitive reaching for a mouse can lead to arm and neck strain as well as spinal asymmetry. Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is related to the overuse of muscles and tendons in the upper body, especially the...


References: http://physioworks.com.au/Injuries-Conditions/Regions/lower_back_pain
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/repetitive-strain-injury/Pages/Introduction.aspx
http://physioworks.com.au/injuries-conditions-1/rsi-repetitive-strain-injury
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/176443.php
http://www.mishockpt.com/physical-therapy-a-treatment-option-for-carpal-tunnel-syndrome/
http://web.eecs.umich.edu/~cscott/rsi.html
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